Chilliwack shows targeted businesses some love

The sting of racist emails sent to Chilliwack businesses last week is being softened by an outpouring of love from the Chilliwack community.

The sting of racist emails fired off to Chilliwack businesses last week is being softened by an outpouring of love from the Chilliwack community.

Cash Mob Chilliwack is organizing ‘Indian Cuisine Day’ in Chilliwack on Friday, March 8.

“The people of Chilliwack don’t want the anonymous emails of one individual to represent our city,” said Scott McVetty of Cash Mob Chilliwack. “Right now, people are watching Chilliwack.”

This is the community’s “chance to shine in the wake of intolerance,” he suggested, as well as a chance to grow as a city.

“Friday is out chance to show Shandhar Hut and The Bay Leaf that Chilliwack is proud to have them in our city,” he said. “This is no longer about the emails, it’s all about the love.”

The two Chilliwack restaurants were sent the same hate-filled missive, while Chilliwack Taxi, a third business, was also sent an anonymous email. They all came from someone using the name ‘goldenboynix’ from the untraceable hushmail.com site.

The taxi company was told ‘you need to stop hiring East Indians’ to drive taxi in Chilliwack, and “Don’t give them a reason to think this is a good place to do business and migrate half of their extended family here.”

The letter writer acknowledged that he/she would be viewed as a “bigot/racist” or “just an overall asshole” and signed it from “a friend.”

The World Sikh Organization of Canada was sent a copy of the email, and has since showed its support for Chilliwack Taxi.

A Cash Mob typically a group of people descending upon a local business to give them a sudden influx of customers, and provide a social event for participants. Due to the special circumstances of recent events, Cash Mob Chilliwack is announcing in advance the destination businesses.

Anyone interested in Friday’s Cash Mob can visit either the Shandhar Hut (8835 Young Rd) or The Bay Leaf restaurant (#201-7084 Vedder Rd) for lunch, dinner or take-out. Patrons will be entered to win door prizes donated by local businesses.

Chilliwack-Hope MLA Gwen O’Mahony will be dining out at one of the restaurants.

“Racism is an extreme form of bullying which has no place in our community or any other,” she said in a release.

Maybe folks could call Chilliwack Taxi for a ride if they go out do dine, since they were also impacted by racist messages.

The whole effort has the potential to send a “powerful message” of solidarity.

“We are saying we will not casually accept hatred and division as a way of life here,” O’Mahony said.

“By publicly expressing our rejection of racist bullying, we are putting those who indulge in it on notice that perhaps it is they who are not welcome here.”

jfeinberg@theprogress.com

twitter.com/chwkjourno