Hope resident Mike Wilson said he faced prejudice and discrimination at the Chilliwack Library, as security guards told him to leave and followed him out Friday, Nov. 2. Emelie Peacock/Hope Standard

Hope resident Mike Wilson said he faced prejudice and discrimination at the Chilliwack Library, as security guards told him to leave and followed him out Friday, Nov. 2. Emelie Peacock/Hope Standard

Hope man says he faced racial discrimination from security guards at Chilliwack Library

Mike Wilson, 66, said he was minding his own business when he was led out by three security guards

Mike Wilson said he’s been turning it over in his head since Friday and can’t shake the feeling that what he faced at the hands of security guards at the Chilliwack Library was racial discrimination.

A Hope resident for nearly his whole life, 66-year-old Wilson often takes the bus to Chilliwack to do some shopping downtown. After being asked to leave and followed out of the Chilliwack Library by three security guards Friday, Nov. 2, Wilson is quite sure what he faced that day was discrimination for being Indigenous.

That afternoon Wilson had with him a backpack and a wheeled shopping bag, the kind people use to lug their groceries home. In his shopping bag, he had a big coat with him that he had just gotten dry cleaned.

With his items in tow, he stopped into the Chilliwack Library at 45860 First Ave to kill some time before the bus back home to Hope was scheduled to leave. He had been sitting at a round table on his tablet for about half an hour, using the public WiFi, when a security guard approached him and told him he had to leave.

RELATED: B.C. woman disappointed after family asked for ID at townhouse complex pool

“I said ‘well, why?’ and she’s looking at my backpack and she goes ‘there’s too much’,” he said.

Wilson told the security guard he was a library member and he was waiting for the bus. The guard replied that doesn’t matter, repeating he had too many things with him.

The security guard then got another guard and a few minutes later a third approached.

“I felt like they were belittling me. Discrimination, prejudice. And I said that when I left, I talked to the librarian there…I said ‘this is prejudice’,” Wilson said, adding he is quite sure the behaviour of the guards was because he is First Nations.

“I’m pretty sure, that’s what it felt like to me because I’ve been there before but they were applying pressure…They were just waiting for me to do something because there were three of them.”

RELATED: Tackling reconciliation: Group tries to understand Indigenous perspectives

As he gathered his things and prepared to leave, the guards followed him out. “I know where the door is, leave me alone,” was what Wilson said he told the guards. The guards didn’t say anything else to Wilson.

Having spent his childhood visiting the Hope Library, Wilson said he has never faced this kind of treatment at the local branch.

“They should do something different, if somebody has got bags, just ask people to put your cart behind the desk and they will look after it. That’s what a lot of the thrift stores down there do,” he said.

“You don’t expect that from a library because I’ve been in (the Hope) library forever, it seems like.”

In a phone call and email statement to the Hope Standard, Nicole Glentworth, manager of the library branch in downtown Chilliwack said the library is open to all and library staff do all they can to ensure the library is a ‘welcoming and safe place for all customers.’

Without knowing the details of the situation, Glentworth said Wilson was most likely asked to leave because his items were a security hazard.

“Sometimes we do have issues with people bring in a lot of their belongings and if it causes an issue of safety, I guess blocking between the shelves or if it’s a tripping hazard we ask them either to remove their bags or ask them to leave depending on what the situation is,” she said.

Glentworth stated the library is reviewing the incident to understand what happened. “We regret that one of our customers had a negative experience, and we want to ensure that it doesn’t happen again,” she stated.

Griffin Investigation and Security Services, the company which provides security to the library, stated they could not comment on the incident.

RELATED: ‘They still have that question. ‘Where is she?’ That will never go away’: Margaret Peters, march organizer


Is there more to this story?


news@hopestandard.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

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

Just Posted

Peter Flynn sits at the piano at a Christmas concert. Flynn retired at the end of 2020 and sat down with The Standard to reflect on his long career in the Hope area. (Photo/Peter Flynn)
EXTENDED INTERVIEW: Coquihalla’s longtime elementary school teacher retires

Peter Flynn reflects on decades as a teacher in Hope, teaching at school he went to as a child

Two teens were sent to hospital after being stabbed Saturday evening. (Shane MacKichan photo)
Two teens stabbed in Abbotsford

20-year-old man has been detained

Police tape is shown in Toronto Tuesday, May 2, 2017. (Graeme Roy/The Canadian Press)
CRIME STOPPERS: ‘Most wanted’ for the week of Feb. 28

Crime Stoppers’ weekly list based on information provided by police investigators

Alina Durham, mother of Shaelene Bell, lights candles on behalf of Bell’s two sons during a vigil on Saturday, Feb. 27, 2021. (Jenna Hauck/ Chilliwack Progress)
VIDEO and PHOTOS: Candlelight vigil for Shaelene Bell of Chilliwack sends message of hope

Small group of family, friends gathered to shine light for 23-year-old mother missing for four weeks

The Great Bear Snowshed on the Coquihalla Highway (Highway 5) in British Columbia. Truck driver Roy McCormack testified in BC Supreme Court in Chilliwack on Feb. 25, 2021 that his brakes started smoking in about this location, and soon after he lost all braking, which led to a multi-vehicle crash further down the road on Aug. 5, 2016. (GoogleMaps)
Truck driver charged in Coquihalla crash showed ‘wanton and reckless disregard for other people’s lives’: Crown

Despite already having brake issues, Roy McCormack tackled the steepest hill on the infamous highway

A health worker holds a vial of AstraZeneca vaccine to be administered to members of the police at a COVID-19 vaccination center in Mainz, Germany, Thursday, Feb. 25, 2021. The federal state of Rhineland-Palatinate, start with the vaccination of police officers in internal police vaccination centers. (Andreas Arnold/dpa via AP)
B.C. officials to unveil new details of COVID vaccination plan Monday

Seniors and health-care workers who haven’t gotten their shot are next on the list

An investigation is underway after a man was shot and killed by Tofino RCMP in Opitsaht. (Black Press Media file photo)
Man shot and killed by RCMP near Tofino, police watchdog investigating

Investigation underway by Independent Investigations Office of British Columbia.

Baldy Mountain Resort was shut down on Saturday after a fatal workplace accident. (Baldy Mountain picture)
Jasmine and Gwen Donaldson are part of the CAT team working to reduce stigma for marginalized groups in Campbell River. Photo by Marc Kitteringham, Campbell River Mirror
Jasmine’s story: Stigma can be the hardest hurdle for those overcoming addiction

Recovering B.C. addict says welcome, connection and community key for rebuilding after drug habit

A Vancouver restaurant owner was found guilty of violating B.C.’s Human Rights Code by discriminating against customers on the basis of their race. (Pixabay)
Vancouver restaurant owner ordered to pay $4,000 to customers after racist remark

Referring to patrons as ‘you Arabs’ constitutes discrimination under B.C.’s Human Rights Code, ruling deems

Judith Uwamahoro is Black, approximately 4’7″ tall, 80 pounds and has short black hair and brown eyes. (Surrey RCMP handout)
UPDATED: Lower Mainland 9-year-old located after police make public plea

Judith Uwamahoro went missing Friday at around 4 p.m. in Surrey

Five-year-old Nancy Murphy wears a full mask and face shield as she waits in line for her kindergarten class to enter school during the COVID-19 pandemic on Tuesday, September 15, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette
Variant of concern linked to COVID-19 outbreak at three Surrey schools

Cases appear to be linked to community transmissions, but schools will remain open

Nanaimo children’s author and illustrator Lindsay Ford’s latest book is ‘Science Girl.’ (Photo courtesy Lindsay Ford)
B.C. children’s writer encourages girls to pursue the sciences in new book

Lindsay Ford is holding a virtual launch for latest book, ‘Science Girl’

BC Ferries experienced heavy traffic on Feb. 27 following cancellations the day before due to strong winds and adverse weather. (Black Press Media file photo)
BC Ferries sailings fill up quickly after Friday cancellations due to high winds

Waits expected on Swartz Bay-Tsawwassen route, Horseshoe Bay-Departure Bay route

Most Read