'Laundry is only thing separated by colour': speaker visits shop exhibition

Cllr Kam Adams at drycleaners the Steam Room in Hackney

Hackney speaker Cllr Kam Adams visited the Steam Room. - Credit: Steam Room

The speaker of Hackney has called for unity amid a surge in racial attacks against the Asian community during the pandemic. 

Cllr Kam Adams (Hoxton East and Shoreditch, Lab) spoke at an exhibition showcasing East and South East Asian (ESEA) artists hosted by the Steam Room dry cleaners on February 26.

In his talk, he welcomed the Chinese Year of the Ox, thanked the Chinese community for their contribution to “community cohesion” in Hackney and opposed racism towards ESEA people.

He said: “Racism and hate crime towards this particular group is not new and they have suffered this for decades without recognition or address.”

Records by the Met Police reveal that between January and June 2020, there were a total of 457 race-related crimes in London against people who defined themselves as Chinese or of “oriental” ethnicity.

The Independent reported that in March, when the UK's first national lockdown came into force amid the coronavirus pandemic, the figure rose to 101 of such crimes, nearly three times more than in March 2019 and 2018.

Additionally, statistics from Public Health England show death rates were highest among people of Black and Asian ethnic groups.

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Cllr Adams stressed Hackney is a “proud, diverse borough with a strong tradition of standing up to all forms of hatred and discrimination".

“Remember at this time more than ever that we must all unite and demonstrate solidarity incorporating our fellow Hackney residents within the ESEA community,” he said.

The owner of the Steam Room, Tony Chung, said: “We are happy that the speaker encouraged solidarity with the ESEA community.”

Cllr Adams told the Gazette that he received parcels of noodles from Tony and a framed print to Hackney Foodbank, the speaker’s nominated charity, which says: “Laundry is the only thing that should be separated by colour.”

Owner of the Steam Room, Tony Chung and Cllr Kam Adams, speaker of Hackney

Owner of the Steam Room, Tony Chung, presenting Cllr Adams with a framed poster. - Credit: Steam Room