Several high-profile Asian American actors, journalists and social media influencers are calling for an end to targeted discrimination and hate crimes linked to the pandemic in a public service announcement released this week.
The video features the Asian American actors Lucy Liu, Ken Jeong and Iqbal Theba, as well other members of the Screen Actors Guild—American Federation of Television and Radio Artists. The release Tuesday was tied to a virtual panel discussion among union members discussing the issue and proposed solutions.
“We’re living at a time when humanity matters most. Even though we’re physically apart, we must all come together as one,” Liu says at the beginning of the PSA.
Since March, the nonprofit Stop AAPI Hate has been tracking self-reported bias incidents from Asian Americans, recording 2,373 incidents of hate as of July 15.
The video offers examples of recent acts of discrimination and violence, pointing out that it is a difficult time for everyone but there is no excuse for attacking Asian Americans.
“The crisis has revealed some of our strengths," Jodi Long, Jeannie Mai and Tzi Ma say as a group. "Communities virtually coming together to raise money, feed people, lift spirits up. So, let’s make sure ending this behavior becomes one of our strengths. Stand up against racism when you see it."
The virtual panel expanded the themes of the video message.
“Unfortunately, instead of working together to get through this crisis, a few misguided people are looking for a scapegoat,” the union's president, Gabrielle Carteris, said during the panel discussion. “We are still seeing a shocking increase in hate crimes against Asian Americans, including shunning, racial profiling, verbal harassment and even physical assault. This is a time of high stress, but that is no excuse for discriminatory behavior. We are all Americans and we are all in this together.”
Ren Hanami, chair of the union's National Asian Pacific American Media Committee, said the union supports its Asian American members as well as activists and organizations that have brought attention to the issue.
“If you experience hateful, criminal behavior or witness it, please report it to your local law enforcement,” he said. “Let’s stand up for each other.”