“Captain Marvel” actor Gemma Chan, “Crazy Rich Asians” star Henry Golding and “Doctor Strange” actor Benedict Wong are throwing their support behind an initiative to help the U.K.’s East and South East Asian (ESEA) community amid a rise in hate crimes following the COVID-19 crisis.
The launch comes after a U.S. initiative from GoFundMe raised more than $6 million. The U.K. ‘Stop Asian Hate’ campaign is raising funds for grants that will be issued, via GoFundMe, to organizations working with the ESEA community across the U.K.
Statistics from besea.n — a grassroots movement born from six ESEA women, created to shine a light on Britain’s East and South East Asians — show a 179% increase in hate crime in London around the start of the U.K. lockdown compared to the same period in the previous year.
Announcing the fund on Instagram, Chan acknowledged that though the primary focus of anti-Asian attacks has been in the U.S., the “problem is global,” and encompasses a “disturbing” rise in hate crimes against people of ESEA appearance in the U.K. in the last year.
“Like many others, I worry for family members every time they leave the house or use public transport. My mum has worked for the NHS [National Health Service] for most of her life — she and my dad have been followed and subjected to a number of verbal assaults since the beginning of the pandemic,” continued Chan.
“Whilst I’m relieved that these attacks didn’t become physical, unfortunately that is often not the case, such as the unprovoked attack on a 26-year-old woman in Edinburgh last week which ended in her hospitalization, the vicious beating of a university lecturer who was out jogging in Southampton and the physical assault of Singaporean student Jonathan Mok on Oxford Street, amongst many others.
“What’s even more concerning is that the recorded figures are likely an underestimation because many incidents go unreported, both to the police and in the media,” said Chan. “There is an urgent need for increased awareness and support so I am proud to help launch this fund, which will provide grants to grassroots organisations supporting ESEA and broader communities.”
GoFundMe CMO Musa Tariq said: “The recent rise in hate crimes against the ESEA community is horrifying. We need to ensure communities in the U.K. are protected, as we know violence against the community is not limited to the U.S. and is getting worse. Lockdown is lifting, which makes this all the more urgent.”