On January 6, in the biggest crackdown yet under Hong Kong’s national security law , the authorities arrested 53 people – including Jeffrey Andrews , one of the city’s first registered social workers from an ethnic minority group . The suspects, among them young activists as well as political veterans, were accused of trying to overthrow the government through their involvement in an unofficial primary in July last year to pick pro-democracy candidates ahead of the now-postponed Legislative Council elections . Andrews – a 35-year-old Hongkonger of Indian descent – was the city’s first ethnic minority candidate to run in a primary for a chance at contesting a seat on the council. Despite not being selected, he was able to further raise awareness of minority inclusion and amplify the voices of non-Chinese communities living in Hong Kong. I write about Hong Kong’s dead domestic workers, and wait for the change that hasn’t come I have interviewed Andrews, who along with the other suspects has been released on bail without any charges, several times in recent years. His passion for minority rights, his love for the city in which he was born and raised, and his staunch determination to help others were evident in our conversations. Andrews has served underprivileged communities over the past decade and is a rare example of a member of an ethnic minority group who has been able to stand out in Hong Kong’s mainstream society. His personal story – going from a troubled teenager who struggled to fit in, to a respected social worker – has been hailed as a positive example for others. There were 584,383 people classified as being from ethnic minority groups in Hong Kong in 2016, making up 8 per cent of the total population, according to official statistics. Most of them were from the Philippines, Indonesia and South Asia, with foreign domestic workers accounting for more than half this figure. While cultural and religious freedoms are protected in Hong Kong, several studies have shown that non-Chinese groups face systemic discrimination, including unequal access to education, employment, and public services. Some in this group are also excluded from the city’s politics due to language barriers, which prevent them from expressing their own opinions or taking part in civic activities. When I wrote a piece about ethnic minority groups and the Hong Kong protests in 2019, I talked to several non-Chinese residents who were closely following the movement but who were fearful of openly sharing their views. At the time, Andrews told me that many members of the community were extremely aware of the need to stay within legal boundaries because they knew that one arrest would reflect badly upon them all. “Also, many of us worked so hard to be part of the so-called mainstream society that we don’t want to risk that,” he said. How can Hong Kong prevent domestic workers and their babies from going homeless after maternity leave increase? Andrews’ recent arrest is causing concern among ethnic minority communities, who cannot understand how an attempt to get elected is in breach of the law. Taking part in politics is central to taking part in society. Only through representatives such as Andrews can non-Chinese residents and the underprivileged have their voices heard. In a truly multicultural city that upholds human rights, more knowledgeable and empathetic leaders should have legitimate platforms to speak up. Sending them a signal that their participation is not welcome will only further alienate Hong Kong’s ethnic minority groups. We should be building bridges, not barriers.