According to Alvin Moua, he came home from work around noon on Wednesday and found a note taped to the front door of his Woodbury townhome.
Moua read it, took a picture, crumpled it in his hands, and brought it inside to show his wife, Vanishia Yang, before the two contacted their landlord. Yang, for her part, smoothed it out as best she could, took her own picture of it, and uploaded it to Facebook. It's since gotten over 600 shares.
As coronavirus has spread, so have racist incidents and ugly sentiments targeted at people of Asian descent, including Minnesotans. A coordinator with the Minnesota Department of Health recently told MPR that they’d gotten enough “racist and xenophobic calls” on the coronavirus hotline that they had to develop a whole new set of resources to respond.
Meanwhile, President Donald Trump has taken to referring to coronavirus as the “Chinese virus,” insisting it was because “it comes from China” and he wants to be “accurate.” Locally, former Republican congressman and current U.S. Senate candidate Jason Lewis has called it the "Wuhan virus," after the Chinese city where its devastating spread was first seen.
In her Facebook post, Yang, who didn’t respond to interview requests, said she likes living in Woodbury, and that she’d never experienced any racism or discrimination.
“Everyone here has always been kind to me," she wrote, "so it is very disappointing that this happened at home."
Many comments were apologetic to Yang and Moua, who also have a baby on the way. A few people started commenting that the post had to be a lie.
“Looks fake,” one commenter said. “Not being rude.”
Another commenter posted a photo that had appeared elsewhere on Facebook, featuring the exact same note, but uncrumpled and still hanging on the door. They demanded an explanation.
“Same couple doofus,” another commenter responded. Yang later explained that Moua had shared his photo of the note still hanging up on their door with a few friends, who had also posted it in Woodbury community groups.
Still, the suspicion kept flying.
“Oh wait, for some reason the cameras didn’t work?” another added. “Hmmm… convenient.”
“She knows if she reports it to the police she is filing a false report which is a crime,” a third said.
In fact, the note was reported to the police. Yang and Moua’s landlord took care of that the same day. Commander John Altman of the Woodbury Police Department says the investigation is still on, but they don’t yet have any witnesses or suspects.
“That type of behavior has no place in our community, much less our state,” he says. This “situation,” he adds, is “no one ethnicity’s fault.”
Yang updated her post on Thursday. If she wanted attention, she said, she “wouldn’t do it in this way.” But she wanted people to know what happened.
“Everyone should be aware that this can happen to anyone at any time,” she said. “Also, please don’t be afraid to share your story if it happens to you or your family. When victims aren’t willing to come forward to share their story, that’s when people start claiming it’s fake.”