Telly Leung, Ann Harada And More Rally Behind #RacismIsAVirus
As the lights over Broadway go dark, so have sentiments around the Asian and Asian American communities throughout the nation. Reports of physical violence and hate speech directed toward the Asian Pacific Islander community have overwhelmed the media and have easily been dismissed by the federal heads of government, including President Donald Trump and his administration.
Asian American celebrities, artists, and community advocates have united around a new social media campaign #RacismIsAVirus to help combat widespread xenophobia and attacks against them amid the global COVID-19 pandemic.
The #RacismIsAVirus campaign was organized by the Broadway Diversity Project's Diane Phelan (School of Rock, The King and I, Here Lies Love) who gained immediate support from colleagues such as Marc Dela Cruz (Hamilton), Telly Leung (Aladdin, Allegiance, Rent), Ann Harada (Avenue Q, SMASH) and more.
The campaign also includes notable members of the Hollywood community such as Mulan Star Tzi Ma and Sesame Street's Alan Muraoka. Phelan was inspired by images of powerful Asian Americans who were standing against the growing xenophobia and attacks against her community, notably stemming from President Donald Trump's divisive label "Chinese Virus" used to point blame toward its origin. The President has consistently used the term to describe the COVID-19 outbreak and has incited backlash across the nation.
"I wanted to find a unifying image of Asians and Asian Americans standing up to prejudice around the virus," says Phelan. "Our cultures have long been associated with timid stereotypes and the visual of strong, confident voices in the community can be a powerful message to battle ignorance."
Beyond the #RacismIsAViolence campaign, celebrity allies such as Daniel Dae Kim, Jeremy Lin, Spike Lee and more have spoken out about the discrimination felt across communities of color. Since the launch, the campaign has has reached over 600,000 users and growing across social media and has encouraged people to share their personal stories of discrimination. In addition, similar campaigns calling for awareness toward hate have risen given the divided nature of the nation.
"It's time for us to rally, speak up and call for an end for divisive rhetoric. Together with other communities of color and our allies, we are stronger and can battle this widespread hate," says Phelan. "This is no time to be divided and point blame while people around the world are suffering."
Follow the #RacismIsAVirus campaign on Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/racismisavirus/
View some of the stars' Instagram posts below:
#RacismIsAVirus is a campaign started by my friend @dianicaphelan to stand up to the xenophobic and racist remarks of our incompetent POTUS who wants to shift focus and blame Asians to cover up his own short comings and lack of leadership. His remarks encourage prejudice and hate at a time when we all need to deal with this crisis globally. Asians and Asian-Americans won't stand for it. No one should. (Photo by @jsnignc)
Stop the racism. My friend @dianicaphelan got the ball rolling on #racismisavirus. The following text is courtesy of @phenomenal. Add your voice: write a sign, snap a pic and post. Asians around the world are experiencing racism in the wake of the virus, and hatred and violence are only encouraged when people in positions of power refer to it as the "Chinese Virus." Let's call it what it is, a global pandemic, and let's unify in support of our Phenomenally Asian community when others in leadership are unwilling to do so. Be kind, wash your hands, and stay safe. #racismisavirus
I was inspired recently by pictures of Asians and Asian Americans standing up to the prejudice and xenophobia around the Corona virus. The visual of Asian folks fighting back and saying NO was very strong for me, and I imagined how important it could be for social media to be flooded with Asian (and Allies) faces with a unifying sign and some text calling for an end to 45 and others using the term "Chinese Virus". Our race and culture has long been associated with being the polite, quiet, model minority- and while stoicism bears much honor within our parents cultures, it's time for us to speak up. Would you be willing to take a selfie with a sign bearing the hashtag #RacismIsaVirus and posting to your social media? If you want to make your own sign, please do. What is most important is seeing Asian and ALL FACES standing up to this racism. Thank you and stay well, reach out if you need anything. *shout out to @arielestrada1 for the hashtag, @vivaaace and @alexfchester for the inspiration. We are all in this together In solidarity, Diane #racismisavirus #virus #fightracism #fightxenophobia #asian #asianamericansolidarity #speakup #no #enough #istandwithchina #wuhan.
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