Last month we teamed up with two of our long-term Oaf collaborators, Esther Kim (aka @estherlovesyou) and Charlotte Mei on a presale of limited-edition charity t-shirts, with all profits donated to two grassroots organisations in support of the ESEA community; Hate Crime Book in the USA, and Hackney Chinese Community Services in the UK.
The tees will be shipping this week so we caught up with both our charity partners to spotlight the amazing work they do, and how the money raised by all those who bought a t-shirt will be put to use.
Esther Lim & Hate Crime Book
Our US collaborator Esther Kim chose to support Esther Lim and her passion project Hate Crime Book with funds raised from the sale of her exclusive Esther Bunny STOP ASIAN HATE tees, saying:
‘I chose Esther Lim’s How to Report a Hate Crime because it is serving an invisible population that is often ignored and swept aside. Because of the model minority stereotype, we often forget the poor, immigrant, disabled, sick and elderly segments of the Asian community globally. My parents are elderly, and my father is disabled. They are vulnerable to these sorts of attacks and I know they would probably not do anything if something happened to them and I would feel powerless to help them or force them to take action.’
Esther (Lim!) tell us a bit about Hate Crime Book and the work you do?
I started this project with my parent's safety in mind back in February of 2020, when Covid-19 was escalated to a pandemic and where there was much misinformation from mainstream media of where this virus originated. What concerned me most was the blatant verbal and physical attacks I saw on social media platforms and hearing about horrific stories from my friends of their own and their parents' personal experiences and stigma they felt being Asian in America. Most of the target victims I noticed were the elderly, women, and those who seemed to not know English very well. My mom fit into 2 out of those 3 categories and I feared her being attacked so I thought to create a booklet in her native language (Korean) to make it more comfortable for her to read and understand. My booklets list out preventative tips, definitions of a hate crime vs. hate incident, what to do during/after an attack, where to report, why reporting is so essential, and where to find state resources to help with mental trauma and hospital bills.
Once I completed the Korean PDF version April of 2020, I got in requests from my friends to get these made in their native languages so they could share with their parents. I saw the desperate need of these, so I've expanded it into more languages and regions. I currently have 6 languages on my website (Simplified Chinese, Japanese, Korean, Spanish, Thai, Vietnamese), but I am trying to make time to upload other completed languages (Traditional Chinese, English-only, and Tagalog), and much more in the works of getting translated.
What is next for Hate Crime Book, how will the funds raised from the t-shirt sales help?
Every state has a different hate crime law: some states don't have hate crime laws; some states don't even require data to be collected at the state and federal level. A few states have a state-wide hate crimes task force and many others do not. Each county of many states have different processes of reporting hate crimes and a different contact. This makes my project really hard. My plan is to have a booklet made for each state for every metro city/county by the end of this year and get funding for printing. Thanks to the funds raised through the sales of the t-shirts, I have already placed an order to print an additional 2,000 booklets in Chinese, Korean and Japanese as well as 900 whistles; I already distributed 8,500 booklets to San Francisco last month, but they have been requesting more in Chinese and Japanese. The booklets & whistles will be distributed by the San Francisco Fire Department where they have Asian American volunteer firefighters patrolling Chinatown and Japantown.
Vicky Sung at Hackney Chinese Community Services
Our UK collaborator Charlotte Mei chose to support Hackney Chinese Community Services with funds raised from the sale of her exclusive UNITY tees, saying;
‘I chose to partner with Hackney Chinese Community Services, an organisation who are local to me and close to my heart because they do such amazing work with local ESEA elders, children, victims of hate crime, and all those seeking community. Apart from their urgent work in language, physical and mental health, HCCS also run film nights, creative events and singing + dancing. They are such a cool and vital organisation!”
Vicky, tell us a bit about HCCS, and the vital work you do in the community?
Hackney Chinese Community Services (HCCS) was founded in 1985 to support the local Chinese community in welfare, health, and community activity needs. HCCS historically have provided a general advice service, support in social welfare, health advocacy, elderly lunch club, mahjong club, outdoor activities, youth club, and translation services.
They have now expanded to support the wider East and Southeast Asian (ESEA) community across the UK and provide support to victims of hate crime and newly arrived asylum seekers and migrants and have a mental health counselling service.
What are your focuses for 2021, and how will the funds raised with Charlotte’s t-shirts help?
For 2021, HCCS are continuing to; provide casework and mental health support for victims of hate crime, promote CASVIC (Campaign Against Secondary Victimisation)'s national hate crime survey, and develop community activities for ESEA, young and elderly. This year there will be a greater focus on encouraging the ESEA community to be politically engaged, aware, and active.
There is a huge lack of political representation and public affairs engagement from ESEA. There will also be a strong emphasis on engaging with non-ESEA community organisations to collaborate, partner and share information and resources. HCCS also intend to relocate to the Old Bath Community House this year, a 6,000 square foot venue in Hackney, to accommodate the expansion. The money raised will go towards the core running costs of the centre, which councils and the government no longer provide for. This includes our rent, any unfunded positions (our 2 joint managers), and overheads such as electricity and broadband.
What other resources do you want to share, and how can people get involved if they want to?
People can get involved by fundraising, donating (details here https://www.hackneychinese.org.uk/donate), volunteering ( firstname.lastname@example.org) and sharing our content.
Additional resources on the Hate Crime Survey, and information on what to do when faced with a hate crime are listed below: https://www.hackneychinese.org.uk/post/casvic-launches-a-national-hate-crime-survey-for-east-and-southeast-asians https://www.hackneychinese.org.uk/post/what-to-do-when-faced-with-a-race-hate-crime
Thank you from all of us here at OAF to everyone who bought a t-shirt and supported these two incredible organisations.