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#YouClapForMeNow: Video highlights role of black and minority ethnic key workers during coronavirus pandemic

‘You clap for me now. All this love you are bringing. But don’t forget when it’s no longer quiet,’ poem states

You Clap For Me Now: Video highlights black and minority ethnic key workers during coronavirus pandemic

A video featuring black and minority ethnic key workers reading a powerful poem has been circulated widely on social media.

The poem, titled “You Clap For Me Now”, highlights the important role essential workers from black and minority ethnic backgrounds are playing during the coronavirus pandemic as they continue working as doctors, teachers and delivery drivers, among other professions.

The verse, which was written by illustrator and typist Darren James Smith, implores members of the public to continue supporting key workers once the worst of the pandemic is over.

The video was produced by creative director Sachini Imbuldeniya and includes several key workers from black and minority ethnic families making statements such as: “Don’t say go home. Don’t say not here. You know how it feels for home to be a prison. You know how it feels to live in fear.”

The short film opens with several individuals emphasising the severity of the Covid-19 crisis, stating: “It’s finally happened. That thing you were afraid of. Something’s come from overseas. And taken your jobs. Made it unsafe to walk the streets. Kept you trapped in your homes.”

They continue, referencing the weekly Clap For Our Carers event.

“You clap for me now. You cheer as I toil. Bringing food to your family. Bringing food from your soil. Propping up your hospitals,” they say.

“Not some foreign invader. Delivery driver. Teacher. Life saver.”

The poem ends with the video participants calling upon others to support their communities during these troubling times.

“Come all you Gretas. You Malalas. You immigrants. See what we have learned. It only takes the smallest thing to change the world.”

Creative director Imbuldeniya explained in the video’s caption on Instagram that the poem was written “to remind us all that a large majority of ‘key workers’ are from Black and Minority Ethnic families”.

“It is read out line-by-line by first, second and third-generation immigrants including doctors, nurses, teachers, shopkeepers, dentists, social workers, care workers, delivery drivers, broadcasters and more,” Imbuldeniya said.

“Despite long, shameful histories of facing racism and hostility, immigrants globally are showing kindness and solidarity by delivering essential aid and services to their nations.

“Because we know — and they know — it doesn’t matter where you come from.”

Imbuldeniya ended her caption by stating that society must make sure “we never go back to a time where we ignore, hurt or disrespect people because of their religion, profession, of the colour of their skin”.

Since sharing the video on Instagram and Vimeo, the #YouClapForMeNow hashtag has been gaining traction on social media, with many people praising the poem’s “poignant” and “moving” message.

“#YouClapForMeNow is such a brilliant message,” one person tweeted. “A stark reminder of how much our country and our lives are enriched by immigration.”

“When this outbreak is over, let us never again forget who puts their lives on the line to keep us all safe,” wrote Liberal Democrat mayoral candidate Siobhan Benita.

Television news anchor Charlene White stated that “as a child of immigrants”, she found the video “powerful” and “emotional”.

It was recently reported that black and minority ethnic people are more likely to be seriously impacted by Covid-19 than white people.

The study of nearly 2,000 coronavirus patients was conducted by the Intensive Care National Audit and Research Centre.

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