Actors Gemma Chan and Benedict Wong have called upon the British government to officially recognize East and South East Asian (ESEA) Heritage Month.
In a campaign launched by the grassroots organization besea.n, Britain’s East and South East Asian Network, a letter was sent to the British government asking for ESEA Heritage Month to be officially recognized in the country.
Besean first launched ESEA Heritage Month in September 2021, reaching nearly 10,000 people with more than 70 events, according to the organization.
“We launched ESEA Heritage Month last year in response to the 179 per cent increase in hate crimes towards ESEA people in London at the start of the pandemic, a trend that has been reflected in other parts of the country,” beasea.n’s co-founder Mai-Anh Peterson told the Independent. “Our aim was to provide a safe space to celebrate and acknowledge the contributions of ESEA people in the UK, as well as bringing joy to the community.”
The open letter was signed by numerous celebrities, including Chan and Wong, as well as comedian Phil Wang and “Harry Potter” actor Katie Leung.
“ESEA Heritage Month is an important celebration that allows our community to proudly connect with and embrace their ESEA heritage,” Chan was quoted as saying.
Other prominent figures, including the convenor of Windrush75, Patrick Vernon OBE, as well as the author of “The Good Ally” Nova Reid, have also signed the open letter.
Besean will be holding its second ESEA Heritage Month in September, where “a month-long, collaborative programme of events, dedicated to East and South East Asian heritage, culture, history and everything in between” will be celebrated.
An online petition for the official recognition of ESEA Heritage Month has been posted to Besean’s website.
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