This year has seen a tripling of hate crime towards East Asian and Southeast Asian people due to Asians being blamed for the Coronavirus pandemic. News outlets have reported Asians being assaulted, having their jaw broken, having their clothes torn off, being spat on, or being bullied at school. An Ipsos Mori poll showed that one in seven people in the UK say they now avoid people of Chinese appearance or origin, while hate speech towards Chinese people on Twitter has increased by 900%.
Ironically, hate crimes against East and Southeast Asians have surged, even as they are fighting Covid-19 on the front lines as doctors, nurses and health workers. Filipino health care workers have disproportionately died of COVID-19, sacrificing their lives to protect the UK public.
The racism towards East and South East Asians has heightened in 2020 but it has always been there as part of our society. For example, East Asians report the highest levels of racial discrimination at the workplace in the UK. A team of Hong Kong, Filipino, Vietnamese, Japanese, Malaysian, Singaporean and Chinese activists, academics, lawyers, artists and business leaders have now had enough. They set up End the Virus of Racism (EVR), the first non-profit exclusively dedicated to addressing racism against East and Southeast Asians in the UK.
The organisation aims to hold the government, media and institutions to account and ensure they protect the victims of this hate crime; mobilise a coalition of organisations across the UK to campaign against hate towards East and Southeast Asians; and create a grassroots movement of people to address racism nationwide through citizen action, media engagement, education and activism. They have been covered by national news outlets, including ITV and The Guardian.
The Harlequins Foundation stands in solidarity with East and South East Asian communities and is committed to a world where everyone has the right to live free of abuse and harm based on their ethnicity or skin colour. East Asian and Southeast Asian communities deserve to be recognized for their positive contribution they make to our society and country and they deserve protection against racism.
EVR is presently fundraising to launch a nation-wide Report and Support tool for East and Southeast Asian victims of racism and hate crime. The service will collect evidence on the nature and extent of hate crime against Asians in the UK, run mutual support groups to provide psychological support for victims of hate crime, and hold the police accountable to ensure proper follow-up on report of hate crime.
Please come together to support and contribute to this worthy cause in the fight against racism in all its forms.