Fundraising platform GoFundMe has launched an initiative in the UK to support the East and South East Asian community amid a rise in hate crime against this group during the coronavirus pandemic.
Actress Gemma Chan and several prominent figures and organisations are promoting the UK Stop Asian Hate campaign. Supporters include mental-health service Black Minds Matter, model Alexa Chung, British Vogue editor-in-chief Edward Enninful, MP Sarah Owen and Windrush activist Patrick Vernon, among others.
The initiative comprises a GoFundMe.org.uk community fund and a hub containing further information and resources. The money raised will be distributed among organisations working with ESEA communities across the UK, soon to be announced by GoFundMe.
According to Britain’s East and South East Asian Network, Metropolitan Police figures show that reported anti-ESEA hate crimes rose 146% year on year in the first quarter of 2020. In March alone, when the UK went into its first lockdown, the number of crimes exceeded those in the last four months of 2019 combined. Furthermore, the second and third quarters of 2020 also brought significantly more cases than the same period in 2019.
Musa Tariq, chief marketer of GoFundMe, told Campaign: “We want people to know that the attacks over the past few months are not new, isolated incidents, they’re endemic and part of a systemic pattern of anti-Asian racism.
“In times of crisis, GoFundMe plays a central role in connecting both immediate and long-term needs with a global community ready and willing to help. By creating a centralised place where people can find individual fundraisers or donate to GoFundMe.org.uk’s ESEA community fund, we’re able to provide a rallying point for those who want to stand up, show their support and help eliminate anti-Asian racism in our society.”
Chan said on Instagram, announcing the fund: “While much of the focus regarding anti-Asian attacks has been on the US, we know the problem is global – including a disturbing rise in hate crimes against people of ESEA appearance in the UK.
“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 initially launched the Stop Asian Hate initiative in the US as a result of a rise in violence towards Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders. The US campaign has raised $6m so far.