Increase in hate crime against Asian communities leads volunteer to launch anti-racism campaign
- Credit: End the Virus of Racism
A volunteer working at a Hackney organisation representing Filipino community groups has started a campaign to End the Virus of Racism.
Newham resident Alvin Carpio set up the campaign after official figures revealed a three-fold increase in hate crime directed at south and east Asian communities during the coronavirus crisis.
The British-born Filipino human rights campaigner volunteers at The Kanlungan Filipino Consortium, based in Hackney Council’s offices for voluntary service.
“For me it was just the shock of seeing the numbers,” he said.
“To see the increase in hate crime at a time when there was relative unity across the country. We were all in it together and coronavirus was a problem we had to all face.
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“But then to see the underbelly of racism increase and put towards people like me who have the same skin colour – that really hurt me.”
He said his “very human and emotional reaction” to the reported increase led him to ask people from the communities impacted if they wanted to do something about it.
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Alvin says the Black Lives Matter movement and protests have helped to give a space for people of colour to speak out.
“For me personally racism has always been a part of my life,” he said as he described being the subject of racist attacks as a child.
“I remember going to Clacton-on-Sea one time on a weekend and being randomly shouted at by a group of kids saying racist stuff and then being attacked physically and having stones thrown at me.
“That was just part of growing up in England - even one of my teachers said I look like a monkey. These experiences are not surprising to anyone who is a person of colour in a place like England because it happens all the time.
“But over the last few weeks is people have expressed shock and surprise as if they didn’t know this happens on a daily basis.”
He continued: “I, like many, have faced [racism] but what I’m really encouraged by is the fact that over the last few weeks people have really stepped up to try and do something about it, and that’s people of all [ethnic backgrounds].”
The End the Virus of Racism campaign wrote an open letter to the Home Secretary Priti Patel asking for a zero tolerance policy on racism and full protection under the law for victims of hate crime.
Hate Crimes are defined as crimes motivated by hostility towards a victim’s disability, race, religion, sexual orientation or transgender identity. When a crime is classed as a hate crime a judge can impose harsher sentences on an offender under the Criminal Justice Act 2003.
The campaign has called for an inquiry into the increase in hate crime and solutions to the rise in racist incidents.
It will launch a GoFundMe page next week to raise funds for research and support for organisations and services dedicated to ending racism against south and east Asian communities. Alvin says people from ethnic communities face a “double attack bearing the brunt of coronavirus as well as racism”.
A Public Health England report has shown Covid-19 infections among nurses were highest among Asian ethnic groups and Black, Asian and minority ethnic groups were at greater risk of dying from the disease than white ethnic groups.
The Philippine Nurses Association even reached out to the international Council of Nurses because of concerns about high infection and death rates amongst Filipino nurses in the UK.
About 40,000 Filipino staff are employed by the NHS and the UK relies on foreign-born nurses more than most other European countries.
The home secretary has been contacted for comment.
Visit https://www.endthevirusofracism.com/ to learn more about the campaign.
For more information about Kanlungan visit https://www.kanlungan.org.uk/