Social Media Campaign Seeks to Raise Awareness About Coronavirus-Related Anti-Asian Hate Crimes

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Actress Catherine Haena Kim is among the Asian American artists participating in the social media campaign.

With the coronavirus pandemic now declared a national emergency in the U.S., uncertainty and fear are breeding acts of discrimination and violence against individuals of Asian descent.

To help combat the rising tide of hatred, Asian American artists, leaders and influencers — including actor Tzi Ma (“Mulan”), Opening Ceremony founders Carol Lim and Humberto Leon, musician AJ Rafael and actress Celia Au (“Wu Assassins”) — have teamed up with IW Group, an Asian American communications agency, to launch #WashTheHate, a social media campaign designed to raise awareness about anti-Asian bigotry amid the viral outbreak.

The campaign kicked off March 18 with a series of videos posted to various social media platforms including Instagram, Facebook and Twitter. The clips feature participants washing their hands, according to CDC recommendations, while sharing personal stories about how the coronavirus has impacted their lives.

#WashTheHate also invites the public to share their own experiences while promoting proper hand-washing; which experts regard as the first defense against the virus. For more information, visit www.washthehate.com.

A post from Wash the Hate

Below is a partial list of individuals taking part in #WashTheHate, along with links to their videos:

• Actress Celia Au (“Wu Assassins”), who shared the now-viral video of an Asian man being harassed on the NYC subway and sprayed with air freshener

• YouTube personality Marlin Chan (Marlin the MarMAR)

• Boba Guys co-founder Andrew Chau, who recently addressed Congress on the impact of the coronavirus on small businesses

• Actor Osric Chau (“Supernatural”)

• Tik Tok influencers Chris Kerr and Sharla May (OurFire)

• Lifestyle influencer Skyler Lee (Foodieonfleek)

• Opening Ceremony founders Carol Lim and Humberto Leon

• Actor Ludi Lin (“Power Rangers,” “Aquaman”)

• Actor Tzi Ma (“Mulan,” “Rush Hour”)

• Performance artist and LGBTQ activist Alok V Menon

• Musician AJ Rafael

• Artist and music producer Shawn Wasabi

The campaign has been endorsed by the following Asian American community organizations:

Asian Americans Advancing Justice-AAJC

Asian Americans Advancing Justice-Asian Law Caucus

Asian Americans Advancing Justice-Atlanta

Asian Americans Advancing Justice-Chicago

Asian Americans Advancing Justice-Los Angeles

Asian Chamber of Texas (ACT)

Center for Asian Americans United for Self Empowerment (CAUSE)

Chinatown Partnership

Coalition of Asian Pacifics in Entertainment (CAPE)

East West Players

Kollaboration

Koreatown Youth + Community Center (KYCC)

OCA-Asian Pacific American Advocates

Pacific Arts Movement

Search to Involve Pilipino Americans (SIPA)

Visual Communications

“We’re hoping this campaign sends a message of solidarity and compassion to the world,” said Ma. “Hatred and division aren’t going to prevent this virus from spreading and will only make an already-difficult situation even worse. We’re calling for everyone — regardless of their race or country of origin — to recognize that we’re all in this fight together.”

“There are serious concerns in the Asian American community about scapegoating and becoming the targets of misplaced fear and anger,” said Au. “The mission of this campaign is to get our stories out there and build a constructive dialogue with the public. We can’t be silent.”

“With the increasing rate of hate and biased incidents against Asians as a result of the coronavirus, our organization felt obligated to take action,” said Telly Wong, chief content officer at IW Group. “We tapped into our relationships in the community to bring together some influential voices who not only want to address the problem but also be part of the solution.”

“OCA is proud to support #WashTheHate as part of our organization’s ongoing efforts to dispel myths surrounding COVID-19 and the Asian American and Pacific Islander community,” said Rita Pin Ahrens, executive director of OCA-Asian Pacific American Advocates. “In these unprecedented times, it’s wonderful to see individuals from various industries and backgrounds stand united against xenophobia and misinformation.”

Recently reported incidents of coronavirus-related discrimination and violence against Asian Americans include:

• March 16: A 34-year-old Asian woman was spit in the face and attacked

• March 12: A 47-year-old Asian man and his 10-year-old son were harassed with racial epithets

• March 10: A 23-year-old Korean woman was punched in the face for not wearing a face mask

• March 10: A 59-year-old Asian man was kicked in the back and told to go back to his country

• March 8: A Fresno Asian American family’s car was vandalized with racist graffiti

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