The world is reeling from a Covid-19 pandemic that has overwhelmed healthcare systems, forced people indoors, and caused economies to crash. Now, this terrible virus can add hate crimes to the list of complications it has brought upon society.
Recent events point to a sharp escalation in hate crimes against Asian people, especially against Asian-Americans in the United States.
US President Donald Trump recently faced immense backlash after he was accused of racism following a spat with Asian-American CBS News reporter Weijia Jiang. In addition, some key figures in government and several political parties, in isolated instances, even knowingly or unknowingly promoted racism and division through anti-Chinese rhetoric.
The result of this has been overtly negative and it has become clear that Asian people must unite in the face of racism.
Around the world, celebrities and personalities are speaking up against acts of racism, including Filipino actress and international music icon Lea Salonga who aired a message via CNBC News recently. Salonga joined Asian personalities Eugene Lee Yang and Margaret Cho in support of Asians worldwide, delivering a call for unity.
“I just wanted to send a message of support to all Asian-Americans in this time of Covid-19,” said Salonga.
“It is abominable and absolutely imbecilic that anybody would be racist against anybody else. I have friends that have been spat on in the street, because they’re Asian.
“I know that this is a time of great fear and anxiety. But this is a time when everyone should be uniting in fighting this disease, rather than keeping people apart and spreading divisiveness and hatred, and fear,” Salonga concluded.
As Covid-19 continues to ravage socio-economic structures the world over, it has become evident that, while the coronavirus does not discriminate biologically, it does have real-world effects on the ethnic minority, particularly the Asian populace.
Governments must take urgent action to prevent crimes of hate and discrimination, after a recent escalation in anti-Asian racism had been observed. Asian people everywhere are having to deal with racial slurs, and in worst cases even acts of violence, simply because of their ethnicity.
To fortify society’s immunity to what is now being called the virus of hate, Singapore-based martial arts organization, ONE Championship, has also made its stance on racism clear, galvanizing its martial arts heroes to rise up against racism in the time of Covid-19.
ONE Championship is Asia’s largest global sports media property. It has an expansive roster of elite martial arts talent, mostly originating from Asia, or of Asian descent. For years, ONE has called for unity in Asia, bringing together a mix of cultures in the spirit of competition.
The company continues to spread a message of togetherness with its #WeAreONE catch-phrase, urging a regional population of over 4 billion people to stand up for one another.
“There has been a huge increase in the number of violent, racist acts towards Asians. We need to do something,” says 23-year-old Angela Lee, the reigning ONE Women’s Atomweight World Champion. “Now more than ever is the time to come together.”
Lee is the face of women’s mixed martial arts in ONE Championship, and an inspiring figure in Asia, where she enjoys a massive following. The Hawaii resident of Singaporean and Korean descent believes people should stand together as one, instead of being divided, especially during these times.
“Don’t make jokes linking Asians to Covid-19,” says Vietnamese-Australian martial arts athlete Martin Nguyen, the reigning ONE Featherweight World Champion. “This virus does not discriminate, and neither should we.”
It is athletes like Lee and Nguyen who continue to serve as beacons of inspiration for the Asian people.
ONE Championship’s message is clear — racism is simply wrong no matter the circumstance, and that we as a people, especially now, should fight together against a dangerous pandemic that doesn’t care where you come from.
Feature Image Screenshot via ONE Championship