A new social media campaign, #RacismIsAVirus, aims to combat the rising xenophobia against Asians and Asian-Americans amid the global COVID-19 pandemic.
The campaign was organized by the Broadway Diversity Project’s Diane Phelan (School of Rock) and quickly gained the support of Telly Leung (Aladdin), Ann Harada (Avenue Q), Marc Dela Cruz (Hamilton), Tzi Ma (Mulan), and Alan Muraoka (Sesame Street).
Phelan was inspired by images of powerful Asian-Americans who have been standing up against the growing xenophobia and attacks against her community, notably stemming from President Donald Trump’s divisive “Chinese Virus” label used to point blame toward its origin.
“I wanted to find a unifying image of Asians and Asian-Americans standing up to prejudice around the coronavirus,” Phelan said in a statement. “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.”
Since the launch, the campaign has reached over 600,000 users and has encouraged people to share their personal stories of discrimination. Similar campaigns calling for awareness toward hate have also begun.
“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,” added Phelan. “This is no time to be divided and point blame while people around the world are suffering.”
Follow the campaign on Instagram (@racismisavirus).