The spread of the coronavirus (COVID-19) has reached a boiling point with about 50 countries reporting at least 1 confirmed case.
In Australia, 22 cases have been confirmed as of February 23, according to the country’s Department of Health.
The panic and chaos that has resulted from multiple deaths being reported has brought forward prejudice, racism and xenophobia against Asians or Chinese.
Fear-mongering over the novel virus has affected various businesses run by Asians in European countries and Australia. Now, Australians have come up with an innovative way of ending the misinformation.
More and more people are coming out in support of Asian Australians and trending the hashtag #IWillEatWithYou. In a bid to revive the business of local Southeast Asian eateries, people are not only visiting the shops but posting it on social media and using the hashtag.
The motive is to spread the awareness that keeping one’s distance with the local Chinese or neighbouring country population would not help with keeping coronavirus at bay.
A progressive political activist group called GetUp! are behind the campaign and urge people to dine at Chinatown restaurants and shop at Asian grocers to keep them afloat.
Much loved Chinese & Asian restaurants are at risk of going under.Misinformation and fear about coronavirus has left many eateries losing huge numbers of customers.Can you pledge #IWillEatWithYou & eat at an Asian restaurant to show your support? https://t.co/nS65NPpgZV— GetUp! (@GetUp) February 18, 2020
Several people took up the challenge, including some local public figures.
Mayor of Burwood shared a picture of visiting a Japanese pancake shop.
Twitteratti have also come in support of ending the stigmatizing atmosphere.
Stand in solidarity against #CoronaRacism & join us in a #iwilleatwithyou campaign the weekend. Just dine out at your local East Asian eatery & share a photo on social media to show you #LoveChinaTown & #HateRacism pic.twitter.com/bczzxeUBWm— BeatsOrg (@BeatsOrg) February 25, 2020
I don't need an excuse to eat Chinese food so I'll be stuffing my face this weekend, with a hashtag. That makes it activism innit. Join in by eating East or South East Asian food and posting a pic with these tags: #LoveChinatown #HateRacism #IWillEatWithYou https://t.co/UzX7vgmVFx— Bec Boey (@becboey) February 25, 2020
#IWillEatWithYouAsian businesses and eateries are at risk of shutting down due to the spread of discriminatory #Coronavirus #misinformation. We can’t let people lose their jobs and livelihoods. Stand in solidarity, and take the pledge now. https://t.co/WjAx7qYOvB via @GetUp— Matt Devine (@matt_devine_) February 28, 2020
Even people outside of Australia have taken the challenge.