Ethnic minority healthcare workers praised in new coronavirus video

Coronavirus video #YouClapForMeNow celebrates UK's 'unappreciated' immigrant workforce as they battle the deadly disease
2 min read
15 April, 2020
A new viral trend call #YouClapForMeNow is celebrating ethnic minority essential workers working in the front lines to battle the Covid-19 pandemic.
Picture: Sachini Imbuldeniya Writer/Director: Darren Smith Video Editor: Ruben Alvarado [Screengrab]
A new viral video celebrating the work of first, second and third-generation immigrant essential workers in the UK during the coronavirus crisis is making the rounds online.

The video entitled You Clap For Me Now has been shared by tens of thousands of people and viewed more than 3 million times since it was first put on Twitter by British comedian Tez Ilyas.

As of this morning, the hashtag #YouClapForMeNow has been used over 37,000 times.

The two-minute video features essential workers, including healthcare workers and grocery staff, reciting a poem written by writer Darren James Smith.

The poem questions the national British initiative to clap for healthcare workers every Thursday at 8 PM.

The poem, however, highlights that such appreciation is often not directed at immigrant and ethnic minority workers who have also been the target of anti-immigrant sentiments.

"You clap for me now. You cheer as I toil. Bringing food for your family. Bringing food from your soil," the workers in the video can be heard saying.

The poem continues: "Not some foreign invader…delivery driver, teacher, lifesaver."

It continues by referencing a racist epithet: "Don't say go home, don't say not here."

"When we emerge from our homes blinking in the sunlight and hopefully freed from the grip of Covid-19, we want to remind people not to go back to old, blind ways of thinking" that certain jobs are "unskilled" and therefore "unworthy", Smith, the poet, told The Washington Post.

"We are stronger as a nation when we welcome people of all ethnicities and backgrounds to our shores to work and live and love alongside us," he said.

The video was filmed under social distancing measures. Contributors filmed themselves reading the poem and sent the clip to creative director, Sachini Imbuldeniya, who worked with his friend Ruben Alvarado to edit the footage and splice it together.

The video hit a personal spot for Imbuldeniya, whose mother came to the UK from Sri Lanka 50 years ago and worked as a nurse.

"I really do hope that after we recover from this pandemic we don't return to the xenophobia and bigotry that we've seen over the past decade," she told the Post.

As of 9 AM on 14 April 302,599 people have been tested for coronavirus, of whom 93,873 tested positive.

As of 13 April, of those hospitalised in the UK who tested positive for coronavirus, 12,107 have died.

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