May is Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month, but like all other celebrations, it’s been swallowed up by the pandemic. And far from being honored, Asian Americans have been dealing with a surge in racism and hate-fueled violence, as bigots unleash misplaced anger about the coronavirus.
Anti-Asian speech on Twitter has increased ninefold, Asian-owned restaurants have dealt with boycotts despite being some of the most prepared to prevent transmission and Asians and Asian Americans have been attacked and assaulted in public across the country.
Goodby Silverstein & Partners launched a new Twitter bot that responds to Anti-Asian rhetoric. The First Responder Twitter Bot posts videos that fight vitriol with educational information about racism. It also posts clips of frontline workers in the pandemic who are of Asian descent. It’s part of the agency’s “Respond2Racism” initiative.
“This is a public crisis that has affected thousands of Asian families, including mine,” said Maria Lee, a Korean Canadian associate creative director at GS&P, in a statement. “We are calling on all to respond to racism when they see it. But not with profanity—we cannot fight hate with hate. We need to use education and empathy to address this issue. We need allies who can step in to help in an effective manner.”
Earlier this week, Wieden + Kennedy's Asiancy affinity group also created its own response to rising discrimination against those of Asian descent, the jarring film, "Call it COVID-19."
GS&P is also behind the “Not a Gun” and “Not a Crime” campaigns created in partnership with Courageous Conversation, which call out the innocuous actions and objects erroneously used as excuses for the killings of unarmed black people by American police and vigilantes.