#StopESEAHate campaign launched to support East and Southeast Asian communities

by Matthew Escosia
SEA Wave - #StopESEAHate
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British-Asian actress Gemma Chan along with several other personalities recently launched the #StopESEAHate (East and Southeast Asian Hate) campaign to stop anti-Asian sentiment in the UK.

The actress and activist who you may know as Astrid in groundbreaking movie Crazy Rich Asians has been vocal against rising hate against Asians. Now, together with various organizations and big names such as designer Phillip Lim, model Alexa Chung and journalist Susie Lau, she put up the #StopESEAHate campaign in the UK that aims to raise funds via GoFundMe to support Asian communities and organizations.

The campaign came to life after journalist Zing Tsjeng wrote an article about the rising Asian hate in the UK, something that hasn’t been as prevalent in the media compared to the cases in the USA. Soon after, Zing was approached to start a GoFundMe campaign to create a centralized organization for the benefit of East and Southeast Asian communities. A steering committee composed of Zing Tsjeng, Gemma Chan, Benedict Wong, Susie Lau, and grassroots movement Britain’s East and South East Asian Network (besea.n) was soon formed. Actor Henry Golding has also been publicly supporting the campaign.

Since the pandemic, East and Southeast Asians living in the USA and UK have been victims and targets of hate and violent attacks. In the USA, the Center for the Study of Hate and Extremism, found that the number of police-reported anti-Asian hate crimes increased by 149% between 2019 and 2020, while UK police data reveals that hate crimes against Chinese, East and Southeast Asians in the country rose by 300% in the first quarter of 2020 compared with the same period in 2018 and 2019. These attacks range from verbal harassment to workplace discrimination or worse, physical assaults.

The good news is that the GoFundMe crowdfunding campaign hit its target goal of £50,000 last May 11, just two days after its launch. The organization then increased its target to £75,000, which they have also achieved recently and are now aiming for £100,000. These funds, according to a post from Chan, will be used to provide grants to organizations and communities that help and support ESEA communities in the UK.

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