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We can control the spread of hate during the coronavirus pandemic

We might not be able to stop the virus for now, but we can control our actions and our words during this difficult time.

WOODBURY, Minn. — A Woodbury couple says they're shaken up after receiving a hateful note on their front door.

"I came home from work yesterday, as I was pulling in, I noticed that there was a piece of paper on my door," Alvin Moua said. "I obviously took a look into it, and it was a hate note."

Moua and his wife Vanishia Yang said they never thought they'd be harassed for being themselves.

"I love living in Woodbury," Yang said. "I've never experienced any kind of racism or anything before."

That's until hate literally came to visit them at their door. 

Actually, 'hate' doesn't even begin to describe the terrible message the note carried.

"We're watching you f****** ch****," Moua read the note outloud. "Take your Chinese virus back to China. We don't want you here infecting us with your diseases.... your friendly neighbor."

Moua said he immediately ripped the note from his door and crumpled it up. He said he was angry and frustrated. He said he brought the note upstairs to his wife, who told him to keep the note before they decided to do anything with it.

Moua and Yang said they contacted their landlord immediately and sent the picture of the note to a couple of friends. After much deliberation, they said they decided to take matters to police. Moua said his landlord actually put in the complaint to the Woodbury police department.

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With a baby due in May, Moua and Yang said all this is too close for comfort. They also said it was overwhelming to deal with people on social media who accused them of making all of this up as a way of getting attention.

"If I wanted attention -- which I don't -- I'd do it a different way," Yang said out of disbelief. "This is not the kind of attention I would be seeking, especially at a time like this."

"You don't know the stress of how hurtful this is until it actually happens to you," Moua said. He added that he hopes the investigation will lead to someone, so that individual can be held responsible. 

"If nothing else -- if nothing comes from that, just raising awareness that it's here, it's in Minnesota," Moua said, referring to the hatred. "It might not go away for a while. Knowing how long this pandemic has been going, COVID has definitely opened up some closet racists."

This is not the kind of joyful, hopeful story I wanted to bring you today, but this is extremely important. We knew uninformed hatred was going around the country and that it would eventually make its way to Minnesota. However, just because we saw it coming, doesn't mean that it's any less hurtful.

So what can you do to help? First, you can call the virus by its proper name, the coronavirus, or COVID-19. Also, if you do see hate out there, say something. Maybe make it an educational opportunity. Practice kindness if you have a chance. 

It's not one group of us against another. It's us against the virus. Let's make that clear. 

KARE 11’s coverage of the coronavirus is rooted in Facts, not Fear. Visit kare11.com/coronavirus for comprehensive coverage, find out what you need to know about the Midwest specifically, learn more about the symptoms, and keep tabs on the cases around the world here. Have a question? Text it to us at 763-797-7215. And get the latest coronavirus updates sent right to your inbox every morning. Subscribe to the KARE 11 Sunrise newsletter here. Help local families in need: www.kare11.com/give11

The state of Minnesota has set up a hotline for general questions about coronavirus at 651-201-3920 or 1-800-657-3903, available 7 a.m. to 7 p.m.

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