EXCLUSIVE: As Asians and Asian Americans continue to be the target of harassment during the coronavirus pandemic, NBC Asian America, an arm of NBC News, will host a virtual town hall titled “United Against Hate” on May 13 at 4:30pm ET with guest appearances by comedian Margaret Cho, filmmaker Eugene Lee Yang and Tony Award-winning actress and singer Lea Salonga.
The town hall will examine the rise of racism against Asian Americans during the pandemic and what can be done on a legislative, nonprofit and individual level. Panelists include Judy Chu (Congressional Asian Pacific American Caucus (CAPAC) Chair and US Representative, CA-27), Manjusha Kulkarni (Director of A3PCON), Grace Meng (CAPAC First Vice-Chair and US Representative, NY-6) and John Yang (Director of Asian Americans Advancing Justice). NBC News Investigative and Consumer Correspondent Vicky Nguyen will moderate the discussion.
As of April 23, the Asian Pacific Policy and Planning Council’s Stop AAPI Hate, an open forum to report discrimination against Asian Americans, has received almost 1,500 incident reports of verbal harassment, shunning and physical assaults from across the country — and that number is growing.
“NBC Asian America has been at the forefront in covering the rise in bias incidents and crimes against Asian Americans during the coronavirus pandemic,” said Jessica Prois, NBC Asian America editor. “This important town hall will focus on the data and offer ways that Americans can help, and our AAPI Frontline editorial series is an example of how we’re focusing on positive ways to counter hate.”
The town hall will be streamed on NBC Asian America’s site as well as Twitter, Facebook and YouTube. The stream will also be available on Peacock, NBCUniversal’s new streaming service.
This discussion is even more relevant in May as it is Asian Pacific American Heritage Month. In addition, NBC Asian America has published AAPI Frontline, a special editorial series highlighting various members of the Asian community that are fulfilling the role of essential workers during the coronavirus pandemic.
“United Against Hate” is the latest on a list of campaigns and panels that have been fighting to racism against Asians since Donald Trump said the words “Chinese virus”. Actor and author Maulik Pancholy, co-founder of Act to Change, a nonprofit that works to eradicate bullying in the Asian American and Pacific Islander communities, has been holding virtual panels while Define American recently hosted “Building Solidarity For Black And Asian Communities Through COVID-19”. In addition, social media initiatives such as #WashTheHate, #HateIsAVirus, #RacismisaVirus, #becool2asians as well as the recently launched campaigns like #MakeNoiseToday and #UnapologeticallyAsian. have been gaining traction.
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