Black woman complains of racial profiling after family asked for ID at pool


Guerda Henry

SURREY, B.C. – A Surrey woman says she wants to help educate the public about racism after a member of her townhouse complex’s staff requested her family show ID when they were using the pool.

Guerda Henry, who is black, said she believes the incident was an episode of racial profiling, adding it was not the first time she had experienced it at the complex.

She said she felt compelled to take a public stand because her family was there to witness it this time.

“My kids were involved, and this is a place that I bought so my kids could enjoy (it),” she said. “I felt harassed, I felt ambushed. It was not necessary.”

Henry said she was devastated when the resident who had asked staff to check her ID returned and questioned a 12-year-old family friend — after the staff member had already confirmed their residency.

The resident and staff member could have handled the situation with more politeness and understanding, she said. Other neighbours in the complex who did not know the family have approached them affably in the past.

Instead, she said they expressed concern that her family should not be using the pool, Henry said.

“Come on, who approaches people like that?” said Henry.

When she moved to Surrey from the Bahamas five years ago, Henry said she knew full well the “waters (she’d) be swimming in” as a visible minority in British Columbia. She said she wasn’t surprised by the actions of the staff member, but was still “incredibly disappointed” by Thursday’s occurrence.

Henry would like a formal, written apology from the Strata association, which operates the housing complex, she said.

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