Gemma Chan has laid down what needs to change in society to stop Asian hate, and how to support the Black Lives Matter movement.
The actress, 38, who has been a vocal activist for social causes throughout the pandemic – which saw a rise in Asian hate – says people need to ‘stick up for one another’ and that it can’t just be down to the ethnic group in question.
‘If only black people care about Black Lives Matter, then nothing’s gonna change,’ she told British Vogue.
‘And if only Asians are talking about Stop Asian Hate, nothing is going to change. And it’s only when we stick up for one another, and we stand side by side, that things will shift.’
Although the star, who is set to appear in upcoming Marvel film Eternals, said she feels like an ‘accidental activist’, speaking up was one of the few things she felt she had to do.
‘Actually, we kind of have a duty to, in a way that our parents perhaps weren’t able to as first-generation immigrants.’
The Captain Marvel star is working alongside the likes of fashion designer Alexa Chung, fellow Marvel actor Benedict Wong and Vogue editor Edward Enninful to raise awareness of a GoFundMe initiative to support east and south-east Asian communities in the UK.
As part of the national #StopAsianHate campaign, she previously told the Observer: ‘There is an urgent need for increased awareness and support so I am proud to help launch this fund, which will provide grants to grassroots organisations supporting ESEA and broader communities.’
The campaign will distribute money to grassroots community groups including Besea.n, Covid Anti Racism Group, End the Virus of Racism, and Kanlungan UK.
The Stop Asian Hate movement picked up pace earlier this year when it was reported Asian hate crimes had increased due to Covid, with the likes of actress Olivia Munn speaking out about the issue.
A UN report released last August revealed there were more than 1,800 racist incidents against Asian Americans in the US over an eight-week period from March to May 2020.
Gemma, who is the cover girl for the September issue of the fashion tome, reckons things are changing for Asian females in the entertainment industry, but slowly.
‘It’s only a fairly recent thing that Asian females have been able to be the protagonists of stories,’ she explained.
‘Individual successes are one thing. But structurally, when you look at who can actually get projects green-lit in the UK, who are in those positions of power, those gatekeeping positions – there aren’t that many Asians. There aren’t many people of colour in those positions.’
British Vogue editor-in-chief Enninful said: ‘Together, through bold changes and brave initiatives from all of us we are closer to where we all need to be: a more inclusive, diverse and renewable industry.’
The September issue of Vogue is available via digital download as well as on newsstands August 6.
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