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Powerful video reminds us that a large majority of ‘key workers’ are discriminated immigrants

The moving video highlights exactly how important a country's immigrant population is proving to be in its battle against the pandemic.

Powerful video reminds us that a large majority of ‘key workers’ are discriminated immigrants
Image Source: Sachini

The rise of the pandemic brought with it an unfiltered look into just how deep racism runs deep in modern society. Any and all semblance of civility and humanity went out the window and individuals of Asian descent became victims of verbal and physical assaults in many parts of the world. However, in the weeks that followed, it was the immigrants—the ones who have long been discriminated against, the ones who've always been made to feel like outsiders, the ones who've constantly had to stay on alert—that played a huge role in tackling this global crisis.


A powerful new video highlights exactly how important the country's immigrant population is proving to be in its battle against the pandemic. Titled You Clap for Me Now, the video features first, second, and third-generation immigrant essential workers in the UK recite a poem by the same name, penned by Darren Smith—a content director. Directed and produced by creative director, Sachini Imbuldeniya, the moving video brings a reminder that those who've been thought of as "foreign invaders" are now the ones helping the countries they reside in defeat this deadly foreign virus.


Speaking to Metro, Smith pointed out that the pandemic has triggered a shift in what we now collectively think of as an essential key worker. "Ironically, despite being socially distanced from one another we are a far more [of a] United Kingdom. As our friends and neighbors do each Thursday night at 8 pm, we clap for every carer, doctor, nurse, delivery driver, shelf-stacker, and key worker no matter what their age, sex, religion, nationality, or color of their skin. We are not trying to make a political point. It is a humanitarian one," he said.


Smith hopes that the post-pandemic world will remember the contributions of immigrants and not go back to its old blind and prejudiced ways. "Of assuming that certain jobs are 'unskilled' and therefore 'unworthy,'" he said. "‬‪And we ask everyone to remember that 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. Because as we have discovered, at times of crisis we all need to support and care for each other. ‬That is a sentiment worth clapping for.‬"




Smith and Imbuldeniya's path first crossed when he interviewed her mum—who immigrated from Sri Lanka to work as a nurse in the NHS—during the time of the Windrush Scandal. "It seemed incredible that we could go from a nation that needs and welcomes and values immigrants, to a nation riven apart by Brexit and the Hostile Environment policies of the government since 2012," he said. Speaking of her mother, Imbuldeniya said: "She was a nurse in the UK for 40 odd years and dedicated her life to caring for people. She’s an amazing woman and when the Windrush Scandal happened it hit a nerve."




"This poem was about ensuring that when we recover from this pandemic we don’t return to the xenophobia and bigotry that we’ve seen over the past decade. We want to celebrate all key workers that are putting their lives at risk every day and promise them that we’ll never forget," she added. Since being posted online and shared by Tehzeeb "Tez" Ilyas, a British stand-up comedian of Pakistani descent, the video has gained over 55.3k likes and been retweeted more than 27k times. It has struck a chord with countless immigrants for Smith's words resonate deeply with their personal experience. Here's hoping Smith and Imbuldeniya's vision for the post-pandemic world comes true.


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