A powerful campaign, entitled, “Fight the Virus. Fight the Bias”, is pushing back against a wave of racially-motivated acts of harassment and aggression suffered by Asian Americans in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Sheri Klein, vp/campaign development at the Ad Council, a non-profit that develops and distributes public-service advertising (PSA), talked about this initiative in a recent online event. (For more, read WARC’s in-depth report: “Fight the Virus. Fight the Bias” public-service campaign tackles prejudice against Asian Americans.)

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Around 40% of Americans, she said, believe it is more common for people to express racist views about people who are Asian than before the pandemic, quoting a figure from the non-partisan Pew Research Center. 

“But 40% is just not enough,” Klein said during the townhall, which was held by the Asian American Advertising Federation (3AF) and the ANA Educational Foundation, a unit of the Association of National Advertisers (ANA).

According to the Asian Pacific Policy and Planning Council, a coalition of community groups, Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders (API) were victims of over 2,000 incidents in an eight-week period as Coronavirus took root in the US.

In response, the Ad Council has stepped in with “Fight the Virus. Fight the Bias”, which utilises the power of storytelling to address the problem of anti-Asian racism head on.

The public-service ad that was the centerpiece of this campaign featured a diverse range of people from the Asian and Pacific Islander community – such as a nurse, an artist, a firefighter and acclaimed chef Melissa King.

Each of these individuals began the ad wearing a mask – and detailed harrowing experiences that have occurred since the Coronavirus began.

Coupled with raising awareness, the campaign assets – including more ads and an Instagram filter – direct people to the “Love Has No Labels” website, a hub for a long-term Ad Council effort that has tackled various forms of discrimination.

Among the resources provided on this site for “Fight the Virus. Fight the Bias” are facts and figures to educate people about the Asian American community, and drawing attention to the bigotry it has endured throughout the Coronavirus pandemic. 

The platform also contains questions to help people “self-reflect” about their own biases, advice for acting as an ally, tips on supporting Asian-owned small businesses, and suggestions for challenging prejudiced in-person and online.

“We really try very hard to use the power of communications to tackle the toughest issues,” Klein said. “And we do that by really focusing on awareness, education, and, most importantly, individual action.”

Sourced from WARC