The effects of coronavirus have, no doubt, been staggering, but one thing this pandemic has taught everyone is, humanity, hospitality and togetherness, irrespective of one’s background, is indispensable.
As some of us remain indoors and are observing social distancing to curb the spread of the virus, others, including our valiant health workers and essential service providers, are still out there working and helping in the best way they can. Also among those people are immigrants whose invaluable contributions cannot be overestimated.
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In this regard, a powerful video has been shared to highlight the contributions of British immigrants as well as dispel racial stereotypes from a different perspective during this pandemic.
The video, which was shared on Tuesday and since gone viral, was produced by Sachini Imbuldeniya. It features several immigrants from various career fields taking their turn to recite a poem titled You Clap for Me Now.
Written by Darren James Smith, a part of the poem goes:
“So, it’s finally happened. That thing you were afraid of. Something has come from overseas. And taken your jobs. Made it unsafe to walk the streets. Kept you trapped in your home. A dirty disease. Your proud nation gone. But not me. Or me. Or me. No you clap for me now. You cheer as I toil. Bringing food to your family. Bringing food from your soil. Propping up your hospitals. Not some foreign invader. Delivery driver. Teacher. Life saver.”
Speaking to The Guardian, Imbuldeniya, who revealed the response to the video has been very overwhelming, said she wasn’t expecting it to go viral.
“I definitely wasn’t expecting it [the video] to go viral, but am so glad that it has as I feel like it’s such an important message to send out. Not just for the UK, but globally.”
Smith also shed some light on the motive behind the poem, saying he was inspired to write it after interviewing Imbuldeniya’s mother on the Windrush scandal.
“It was really interesting talking to her mum about how we really valued immigrants coming over to help the NHS. Windrush was all about bringing people over to help due to labour shortage after world war two. They were doing us a huge favour as well as building a new life,” he said.
“That was the background to it and then with the pandemic we are all going outside to clap for carers, which is a lovely thing. It struck me how quickly it had changed from these people being unskilled to being essential key workers and reframed how we think about them. That is brilliant, but her mum’s story came to me and I thought, let’s just make sure when this all ends and we emerge into a light that we don’t allow the narrative to slip back to immigrants taking our jobs and xenophobic language that you read everywhere.”
Take a look at the powerful video below:
— Tez (@tezilyas) April 14, 2020