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‘Anti-Asian violence is not new’

Olivia Munn appears in a new PSA directed by “Be Water” filmmaker Bao Nguyen. (Emma McIntyre / Getty Images)

Actors Olivia Munn, Ken Jeong, Simu Liu and other stars gathered this week for a PSA promoting the #StopAsianHate movement in the United States.

On Wednesday, “Be Water” director Bao Nguyen launched his star-studded “Ensemble” video campaign. The three-minute video also serves as a fundraiser for the AAPI Community Fund, which benefits many organizations supporting Asian American communities.

“There has been a lot of darkness around us lately,” Nguyen wrote on Instagram when the project was released. “From the seemingly everlasting pandemic, from the murders of Breonna Taylor, George Floyd, Daunte Wright and countless black bodies throughout our history, to the rise of violence and vitriol against our AAPI community, many of us feel hopeless in this darkness. …

“We’re doing our best in these times to shine a light, but it’s hard to do it alone. Today, I am honored to create ‘TOGETHER’, a project that was put in place very quickly but which meant so much to me. I felt helpless in many ways, but now I have found my way to channel my energy to help carry the stories of our past and try to uplift our communities for the future. “

The video sees its famous attendees carrying a flame, candle after candle, while illuminating the history of anti-Asian racism and violence in the United States. Examples range from the Page Act of 1875 – which prohibited Chinese women from entering the country – to shootings at an Atlanta-area spa this year, which resulted in the deaths of six women of Asian descent.

“On March 16, 2021, six women were among the victims of a horrific shooting in Georgia,” begins the video from “Misson Force One” actress Munn. “They were grandmothers, mothers, daughters, sisters and wives. They were killed because they were Asians. But anti-Asian violence is not new. It is part of our memory. collective. “

“As families in Georgia mourn and remember the lives of loved ones, we remember the history of racism our community has known,” continues Jeong, star of “The Masked Singer”.

The PSA also highlights the Chinese Exclusion Act of 1882, which blocked immigration from China for a decade and prevented Chinese immigrants from becoming US citizens; widespread attacks on Filipino American farm workers in 1930; and the mass incarceration of Japanese Americans during World War II.

Other events mentioned in the brief clip include the 1982 murder of Vincent Chin by white auto workers, as well as post 9/11 violence against Muslims and South Asian Americans. The end of the video sees its set addressing the recent increase in anti-Asian hate incidents during the COVID-19 pandemic.

According to a study conducted by Stop AAPI Hate, at least 3,795 racially-motivated attacks against Asian Americans – many of which targeted the elderly – occurred from March 2020 to February 2021.

“Memory is the antidote to death,” says “Black Panther” actor Winston Duke. “Solidarity is the answer to silence.”

“Today we are giving birth to something new,” adds Vivian Bang, actress of “Always Be My Maybe”, “knowing that it is up to all of us to protect ourselves and shine a light together.”

This story originally appeared in the Los Angeles Times.

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