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1 week after triple stabbing, Chinatown community remains resilient and hopeful for positive change

It's been exactly one week since a 64-year-old man allegedly stabbed three strangers in an unprovoked attack at the the Light Up Chinatown festival.

Many in the community are still struggling to cope, but remain resilient and hopeful that a positive change is on the horizon, including Emmanuelle Rousseau and Boyd Thomson, who have been running Stretch, a yoga studio in Chinatown, for 10 years.

While business is flourishing, they said the neighbourhood is not.

“My heart breaks every day," said Thomson.

“I’ve here for over 15 years now and it’s been in a slow decline," he continued.

He admitted that he's gotten more cynical over the years.

“There was a time where if I saw someone in need, I would stop and help them and now I literally step over bodies on my way home and I only live three blocks away. And I live by an elementary school and I see horrible things," Thomson said.

“If you helped in all the places where you saw a need for help, you wouldn’t make it a block," he added.

The business owners say crime and violence are taking a heavy toll on the community.

“It’s not the first time something dramatic has happened in the neighborhood, so we’re quite upset," said Rousseau.

“There’s not a lot of us left. Downstairs it’s empty. It’s been empty for three years. Everything's for rent. It’s quite sketchy out there and it doesn’t feel safe for nobody," she continued.

They say they are seeing some positive change in the neighbourhood, but more needs to be done from a political level and individually.

“What else can we do? Can we turn some of the alleys into greenways like they did in Montreal? Can we have more artists getting involved?” Rousseau said.

“What’s amazing about Chinatown in Vancouver is that there’s a lot of people that are passionate about being part of the future of it," she continued.

Kevin Rigney hopes to be part of that change with his new business in Chinatown, Raven Coffee Company.

“I think there’s ups and downs in any community and I think in order to move forward into the future, we need to support each other and bring in the energy that we want to see you," he said.

"I think I can help with that," he added.

The community remains resilient, continuing to hold events, such as the Chinatown Dance Party and Sid Chow Tan Film Screening on Saturday.

"The stigma was really bad before because I always perceived Chinatown as a place I wouldn't go alone, I wouldn't go at night. Something like that. But now I see people who are actually nice. I feel like that's great. It changes the image," said attendee Elizabeth Guan.

Now working to move past what happened, residents and business owners hope last week's violent attack will prompt real change in the neighbourhood they cherish dearly. Top Stories

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