Ajinkya “Jinkx” Chodankar (second from right) and his cricket friends take a break from play at Lewis Park. Photo by Mike Chouinard

B.C. cricket players get interrupted by racist remark

Community has had protocols in place for years to respond to prejudice

Ajinkya Chodankar, or “Jinkx” as he calls himself, was out a few weeks back and ran into some students, mostly from India, on the evening of Aug. 4 at Lewis Park in the Comox Valley.

Also from India, he was happy to be invited to partake in a game of cricket with the students, who were from the international student program at North Island College.

They were having a good time playing when a silver truck drove by and someone inside yelled at them, ‘Go back to your country, you P***s.’

He yelled back at the driver as the truck drove off. One of the students thanked him for standing up for them, though he replied it wasn’t something for which they should have to thank anybody.

“This isn’t acceptable. This shouldn’t be something you have to ever deal with,” he says. “It was just because we were brown. It’s so silly. And he didn’t even get the country right. We were from India.”

Moving here in late 2012, Chodankar is a permanent resident of Canada and is married to a Canadian. He has a bachelor of science degree and is a Red Seal chef, having trained at NIC. He’s also a recruit in the Courtenay Fire Department, training to be a firefighter.

“I made a conscientious decision to move to Canada,” he says. “Through my research, Canada came up on top.”

He says he knows that whoever shouted the racial slur at him and the international students does not reflect the Comox Valley as a whole, but he contacted the newspaper in order to make it clear how much Canada means to him and how much he wants to be part of the community in the Valley.

“I surrounded myself with amazing, amazing individuals,” he says. “Then you get one rotten apple…. I’m sure they’re just being silly. I would like to believe that. They’re not bad people. It was just a lapse in judgment.”

In the meantime, Chodankar would like to encourage whoever yelled at him to meet him in person, so he can show the compassion he has for anyone, even the person responsible.

While the hope is that this isn’t a common sentiment in the community, many communities, like this one, do have protocols set up to respond to acts of discrimination and racism.

“There’s no question that these things do happen,” says Jim Brennan, executive director of the Immigrant Welcome Centre, which serves the Comox Valley, Campbell River and the North Island. “They tend to be isolated events.”

However, he points out there is an agreement with a long list of signatories to set out how the community should respond.

“If we do nothing about this… we condone the behaviour,” he adds. “When things happen, you report it.”

RELATED STORY: World Without Hate contest victim of its own success

Province-wide, communities have signed on to the Organizing Against Racism and Hate (OAHR) program to deal with these kinds of incidents. Locally, this was developed from 2007 to 2009, says Bruce Curtis, chief administrator of Community Justice Centre, which oversees the program in the Comox Valley. It was updated to take into account online acts, and it was renewed in 2016 with 125 signatories, including local governments, First Nations, businesses, community groups, schools and others.

“We have been contacted by a number of individuals over the years to assist and support them,” he says. “We provide a variety of supports.”

In extreme cases, where a criminal act has taken place, this gets transferred to the RCMP. For lesser acts or civil matters, Curtis says they work with the newcomer to provide advice on how to handle the situation. If the person responsible is known, they try to set up a process similar to restorative justice mediation and sit that person down with the person they have affected. Through the program, they also do public education around these issues and produce an annual report, which makes it all the more important people report these incidents.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Elevators back in service at Royal Inland Hospital

Repairs were completed a week earlier than expected

Gilbertson ready to step down from organizing Barriere’s Walk For Alzheimer’s

By Margaret Houben Liz Gilbertson has been chairing the Barriere and Area… Continue reading

Don’t fall for scammer who says, “Your Windows license is expiring”

They explain you need to upgrade your operating system if you want your computer to keep working

Valley Voices: This time of year brings out the memories

A personal look back on a young girls immigration to Canada

VIDEO: Canada’s first presumptive case of coronavirus officially confirmed

Both patient and wife arrived on a China Southern Airlines flight after having been to Wuhan

First-place Canucks beat Blues 3-1 for ninth straight home win

Miller nets pair as Vancouver defeats Cup champs

Swapping grape varieties can help winemakers adapt to climate change: UBC study

Report says 56% of wine-grape-growing regions would be lost if global climate warms by 2 C

Alberta premier wants feds to approve Teck mine for benefit of First Nations

Kenney: ‘Surely [reconciliation] means saying yes to economic development for First Nations people’

Police search for man who went missing from Vernon hotel

Jay Rosenberger, 38, was last seen Friday

NDP suggests easing secondary housing rules for B.C. farmland

Lana Popham proposes guest homes not just for relatives

After four sexual assaults in the same B.C. park, RCMP ask women not to walk alone

Four sexual assaults took place in Glen Park over two months

BC Place lights up in purple and yellow to honour Kobe Bryant

Kobe Bryant, his 13-year-old daughter and seven others were killed in a helicopter crash

Whistleblower says Iranian-Americans questioned at Peace Arch crossing were targeted

Immigration lawyer says response from Customs Border Protection is a ‘total cover up’

Most Read