Stars like Olivia Munn, Ken Jeong, Winston Duke and more are teaming to shed light on the history of anti-Asian violence in America.
Directed by Bao Nguyen, the three-minute, black-and white public service announcement shared Wednesday features actors and celebrities passing a lit candle as they share a timeline of anti-Asian sentiment and violence in the U.S.
“Anti-Asian violence is not new, it is part of our collective memory,” Munn said.
Part of that collective memory includes the 1875 Page Act, the 1882 Chinese Exclusion Act and the 1942 Japanese concentration camps during World War II, all of which the PSA cast mentioned as examples of anti-Asian hate through history.
“Memory is the antidote to death; solidarity is the answer to silence,” Duke said.
Over the past year, there has been an uptick in anti-Asian violence amid the spread of the coronavirus pandemic. San Francisco-based Stop AAPI Hate, which tracks discrimination and xenophobia against Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders, tallied nearly 3,800 such incidents from March 2020 through February 2021.
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Last month anti-Asian attacks grabbed public attention after eight people – most of them women of Asian descent – were killed in three shootings at Atlanta-area spas. Weeks later in New York City, police arrested a man for allegedly punching, kicking, stomping and hurling anti-Asian insults at an Asian American woman in broad daylight March as she walked down the street.
Jeong added: “As the families in Georgia mourn and memorialize the lives of their loved ones, we remember the history of racism our community has faced.”
“There has been a lot of darkness surrounding us lately,” Nguyen wrote in the video’s caption. “From the the seemingly everlasting pandemic, the murders of Breonna Taylor, George Floyd, Daunte Wright, and countless black bodies throughout our history, to the uprise of violence and vitriol against our AAPI community, many of us feel hopeless in this darkness.”
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The PSA is a collaboration with GoFundMe to raise awareness in support of the Asian American Pacific Islander community fund.
Munn, other stars and journalists are also teaming up with SAG-AFTRA’s “Stop the Hate” week to spread awareness of anti-Asian discrimination in the entertainment industry. The week includes a lineup of 12 virtual events to discuss how to promote Asian equality on screen and behind the scenes.
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“The buck stops with each of us. Through our highly visible work, people who work in entertainment and the media, our members, have an opportunity to change hearts and minds and build a more equitable and fair society,” said SAG-AFTRA President Gabrielle Carteris.