Meet the Trustees – Pek-San Tan

Pek is a co-founder and trustee of CARG. She is a school governor and trustee of 17-24-30 National Hate Crime Awareness Week. She is active in her local community in particular with reading support through the PTA with children in early years and was also a PTA Trustee.

At the same time, Pek also spends her time championing her local ethnic community in London and formerly volunteered in the Chinese community with the press and media team for the London Chinatown Chinese Association during cultural events.

We’ve caught up with Pek to learn more about her visions for CARG.

Why did you decide to get involved with CARG?

The emerging news of COVID-19 in 2020 came with a noticeable rise in discriminatory behaviour, verbal abuse, hate crimes and hate incidences towards the ESEA community. I experienced this personally at that time and it became commonplace to speak about these incidents happening in schools, on journeys to and from work and also in the workplace amongst friends, peers, our elderly and family.

I was concerned for the safety of my children, my elderly family and friends and sought help with local Chinese community centres and asked for information support from The Met through CIAC.

This resulted in an invitation to the very first CESEA Community Forum hosted by The Met and through this invitation I reached out to community members to attend alongside myself where I met the other co-founders of CARG in March 2020.

CARG was formed after that very first forum telephone conference by 7 co-founders: Alex Yip, Angela Huang, David Tse, Geoffrey Leong, Linda Chung, Dr Yeow Poon and myself.

We all found commonality in our aim to address the appalling reporting of COVID-19 in the media using East Asian faces to cover the visual imagery for storylines and sought to effect change to reduce the high hate crime numbers we were hearing of both in reported crime statistics and an anecdotal reports.

What do you hope to achieve or see with CARG?

In some ways, we achieved the original aim to address the media reporting of COVID-19 and how detrimental unrelated photos of the community were used to cover these storylines. We raised our voices through the Meet the Media round table during the pandemic and clearly laid out our concerns, our team also managed to secure a change in policy with the BBC on the use of imagery and accurate representation of storylines to prevent impacting harm against the ESEA community.

CARG over the last 3.5 years have spoken up for our community and other communities in the space of discrimination. We have provided input into policy, contributed to the written briefing to MPs for the debate on Chinese and East Asian Community Experiences of racism during the pandemic, to working with organisations, Police Authorities and the CPS to raise the voice of the community.

I envision CARG continuing on the journey of addressing equality and equity in policy in our areas of focus in Policing, Education and Mental Health impacts. It is not only an issue that affects the ESEA community, but one that affects all discriminated communities. I hope we ultimately help to contribute to the safety of our community from the young to the elderly and stand by other like-minded organisations together to tackle racism.

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