The past year has seen us all reflect on our lives and the societies we live in – as our livelihoods changed in the wake of the Pandemic and multiple lockdowns; as we listened to the news of George Floyd’s murder and supported the #BlackLivesMatter movement; and at New Earth, during the process of relaunching as part of our 25th anniversary. Most recently, news of the Atlanta shootings, leaving 8 people killed and 1 person critically injured, has effected pause for us as a British East and South East Asian (BESEA) company again. 6 of the 8 victims were Asian American, adding to the disturbing rise of violence against East and South East Asians since Covid-19 swept across the globe. Indeed, in the past year there has been a 300% increase in attacks in the UK, and nearly 150% in the US (1900% in New York City). We are appalled by these horrifying figures and we know that behind these figures lie real people, families and communities that are hurting.
The sadness, the fear and the anger felt in our community cannot go unheard. The discussions around the model minority complex, the hypersexualisation of Asian females and the sinocentric attitudes towards the ESEA diaspora need to be listened to outside of our own circles. The hashtags #WeAreNotAVirus, #StandForAsians and #StopAsianHate show that ESEA voices – our voice included – are getting louder and speaking out. We also want to acknowledge the activists for whom this isn’t new, and hope the momentum continues towards change.
We’re using our platform to stand up and say we’re seeing and feeling the grief and pain in the ESEA community. To send our respects to Daoyou Feng, Xiaojie Tan, Soon Chung Park, Yong Ae Yue, Suncha Kim, Hyun Jung Grant, Delaina Ashley Yaun, Paul Andre Michels and their families. And to ask for our ESEA experiences and narratives to be heard and taken seriously.