#YouClapForMeNow campaign highlights value of UK immigrants

Sanwar Ali comment:

70% of deaths of health and social care workers due to coronavirus COVID-19 have been people from an ethnic minority.  People from BAME groups (Black, Asian and minority ethnic) represent 13 percent of the population in England and Wales.  However, 44 percent of NHS doctors and 24 percent of Nurses are from a BAME group.  Therefore, those from BAME groups are more likely to be exposed to coronavirus.  More information is needed on what is happening.  The Government has agreed to investigate further.

A video posted by the #YouClapForMeNow campaign, heaping praise on international workers for their contribution in the battle against coronavirus, has triggered an outpouring of thanks to immigrants in the UK.

The heart-warming two-minute video clip features nurses, teachers and other key workers from a mix of different ethnic backgrounds reciting a poem telling of the difficulties they face in the UK and the value they bring to communities across the country.

The clip has gone viral worldwide and has been viewed more than a million times, with Brits taking to Twitter to show their appreciation.

Immigrants in NHS appreciated

A number of heartfelt comments have been shared by those who have viewed the video including Leanne Dixon, whose auntie tragically died from COVID-19. She said: “The video is brilliant. NHS workers were at my auntie’s bedside for her final hours. They never left her side. I take comfort knowing she wasn’t alone. They didn’t have to do it, but they did. My family will never be able to thank them enough.”

Lee Sutton wrote: “Incredible. You don’t have to be born here to be British. It’s not about skin colour or religion. Being British is about sticking together. Thank you to everyone, everyone who works for #NHS or is a key worker. I promise, I won’t forget.”

The poem was written by illustrator Darren James Smith and is titled You Clap For Me Now. The video was produced by Sachini Imbuldeniya, who said: “The United Nations released a global brief calling all creatives to spread messages of positivity, kindness and solidarity during these challenging times.

“The brief was very open in terms of what content could be created. My good friend and colleague Darren Smith wrote the poem. We both work together at Bridge Studio,” Imbuldeniya said.

“Darren had previously interviewed my mum, a retired nurse, for an article that ran in the Sunday Times magazine about the Windrush scandal and feels very passionately about the subject, as do I.

When I read the poem I knew the message needed to be spread as widely as possible, so we decided to turn it into a short and shareable video featuring a mixture of first-, second- and third-generation immigrants living in the UK,” Imbuldeniya added.

Video was challenging to put together

Sachini said putting the video together wasn’t without its challenges given that the UK is on lockdown. She recalls having to contact a lot of people through Instagram and contacted friends and family to find out if they’d be interested in getting involved by filming themselves and reciting a line of the poem each.

Edited by Ruben Alvarado, the video features Tez Ilyas, a British standup comedian of Pakistani descent, as well as others including doctors Kiran Rahim and Mehwish Sharif.

The poem’s writer, Darren Smith said: “It all came together very quickly, within 10 days of writing the poem, I showed it to Sachini. She loved it and wanted to make it into a film.”

“The original idea was really hers and she created the film and worked out the logistics of it and how we can film when people are in their homes. She coordinated it from there, bringing people together,” Smith added.

#YouClapForMeNow was trending on Twitter in the UK by the morning of April 15, with Smith saying that the response had been overwhelming. “The vast majority of responses have been really positive, which is rare for Twitter” Smith said.

However, the poem’s writer did say that there inevitably had been some trolls and responses ‘poking holes’ in his work. “Some have complained about turning clapping into a political football, which was never our intention,” Smith said.

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