George Floyd’s death on the 25th of May was caused by police officer Derek Chauvin kneeling on his neck for almost nine minutes, while Floyd repeated ‘I can’t breathe’. Widely shared footage of this incident caused outrage and protest in Minneapolis and throughout America.
Since the protests, Chauvin has been charged with murder, and three other attending officers were charged with aiding and abetting the killing. Nevertheless, solidarity demonstrations have spread globally, with people demanding racial equality and an end to systemic racism.
Black Lives Matter, a decentralised movement that was founded in 2013 following the killing of Trayvon Martin and other black Americans, has come to the forefront again. People of all races are now looking for ways to help end the problems caused by racism and to support each other in their demand for equality globally.
Back in the UK, racism relates strongly to Uk’s relationship with its former colonies and citizens that comprised the British Empire, many of whom settled in Great Britain, after World War II. Racism is a problem for minorities in the UK, and has led to deaths of minorities as a result. Racial attack has increased in recent years, with the rise of the far right, and government policies such as the Windrush scandal that stigmatise people of colour who have been living in the UK for years, or who were born here.
The Chinese and Southeast Asian community in the UK are often seen as a “model minority” or a silent community. Our establishment in the community, and second and third generation integration into the wider British community means that we are less visible as victims of racism.
Nevertheless, over the years, our communities have also been subjected to verbal and physical abuse in takeaways and restaurants, as well as casual racism in white collar work environments. Racism is also on the increase for us with the advent of Coronavirus which places the South and East Asian communities at the forefront of blame and attack, led by Trump, with malign tropes about the “Chinese virus”.
As a community, we therefore share and empathise with the experience of black people and other minority groups. That said, HCCS recognise that Chinese and Southeast Asian communities are divided in our attitudes towards other communities of colour. We also recognise that one of the Minneapolis police officers who stood by while Derek Chauvin killed George Floyd was of oriental descent.
We apologise for both, and will work to educate our community and reach out to other communities of colour to promote equality between all races. We also recognise that the Chinese and Southeast Asian community have benefited immensely from the historic campaigning by black communities, and continues to benefit further from the Black Lives Matters movement and other minorities.
Hackney Chinese Community Services stands with the Black Lives Matters movement. Racism is both an internal and external struggle that needs to be discussed and resolved in order to move forward. We are an organisation that looks to develop and support all communities from South and East Asia. We therefore feel that equality and justice should be foundations that enable all of our communities to advance together. We express our solidarity with those fighting injustice, and support the movement for mutual respect and racial equality