SAG-AFTRA members are speaking out about hate crimes and discrimination against Asian-Americans, many of whom have been targeted by their fellow citizens during the coronavirus pandemic. President Donald Trump, who is a member of the union, has even called the virus the “Kung Flu.”
On Tuesday, the union held a virtual panel discussion exploring these issues and also released a public service announcement calling on Americans “to stand against the stigma, xenophobia and harassment related to COVID-19 that Asian Americans continue to experience.”
“As a global community, we are experiencing a historically difficult time due to the COVID-19 pandemic,” said SAG-AFTRA president Gabrielle Carteris. “Unfortunately, instead of working together to get through this crisis, a few misguided people are looking for a scapegoat. 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. If you experience hateful, criminal behavior or witness it, please report it to your local law enforcement. Let’s stand up for each other.”
Ren Hanami, chair of the SAG-AFTRA National Asian Pacific American Media Committee, said that the union “is paying attention to those brave Asian American voices coming forward with their heart-wrenching experiences of harassment. We are listening to our members who have a stake in shaping a better world, free of discrimination and harassment, and we applaud Asian American activists, organizations and allies who are bringing attention to this issue. SAG-AFTRA stands with you.”
The virtual panel today came as part of the guild’s President’s Task Force on Education, Outreach and Engagement Race & Storytelling livestream series. Check out the discussion here.
The union’s SAG-AFTRA Asian American Anti-Hate PSA features performers, broadcast journalists and social media influencers including Lucy Liu, Ken Jeong, Iqbal Theba, Joel de la Fuente and Jeannie Mai among others. Check it out above.
Here’s a transcript of the PSA:
Lucy Liu: We’re living at a time when humanity matters most. Even though we’re physically apart, we must all come together as one.
Jon Jon Briones: Yes, we’re worried about our health. Our loved ones. Job prospects. Our nation.
Amy Hill: It’s a scary time. But we can’t let fear turn into hate.
Iqbal Theba: Far too many people are using this crisis as an excuse to forget reason and embrace racism.
Juju Chang: Asian-Americans have been the victims of verbal and physical harassment during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Vincent Rodriguez III: Law enforcement has recorded a surge in hate crimes aimed at our community.
Christina Chang: Families have been shunned. Businesses vandalized.
Hudson Yang: People attacked on public transportation and children bullied and called hurtful names.
Carrie Ann Inaba: Can you imagine what it’s like to face this kind of behavior at a time like this?
Joel de la Fuente: That’s what many of us – across America – are dealing with during this crisis.
James Hong: And the number of incidents – they will rise, I’m afraid so.
Ken Jeong: We must all stop the stigma. We must all stop the xenophobia. We must all stop the hate.
Jodi Long: This crisis has revealed some of our strengths.
Jeannie Mai: Communities virtually coming together to raise money, feed people, lift spirits up.
Tzi Ma: So, let’s make sure ending this behavior becomes one of our strengths. Stand up against racism when you see it.
Clyde Kusatsu: Support local Asian-American business owners. Take care of your neighbors. We will get through this with empathy, care and love for our fellow man, woman and child.
Juju Chang: As members of SAG-AFTRA and as Americans, we know our strength is in our diversity.
Christina Chang: We are always
Joel de la Fuente: Stronger