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Big partnership commits $7 million to combat Asian hate

California Governor Asian Discrimination
Posted at 7:08 PM, Apr 19, 2021
and last updated 2021-04-19 22:21:48-04

If you haven't seen them already, you're likely to notice several public service announcements from AT&T and WarnerMedia.

The two companies recently joined forces, committing seven million dollars to combat Asian hate and offering a way for the public to pitch in too.

Three different PSAs feature recognizable faces like Jon M. Chu, director of "In The Heights" and "Crazy Rich Asians," Lisa Ling, Ludi Lin of "Mortal Kombat", Olivia Cheng of "Warrior", Olivia Liang of "Kung Fu" and Tzi Ma, also of "Kung Fu."

They carry a powerful message, and "it feels raw for the first time every time," and is "emotional," said Jason Paguio, president and CEO of the Asian Business Association in San Diego.

The organization has helped minority-owned businesses for more than 30 years. Paguio said this isn't the first time AT&T has contributed.

"They asked us what kind of resources do you need? How can we partner with you? What else can we do?"

It's been a tough year and then some.

The beginning of the pandemic was when people stopped going to Asian businesses.

"We had non-Asian businesses saying hey our employees are afraid of coming to the district, to the convoy area, and coming to work because they were so fearful of what was going on," Paguio said.

And then the shutdown happened, and it got worse. When funds came in from the government, they weren't easily accessible.

"Minority communities tend to miss out," Paguio said. "Those that have language barriers for us some windows are anywhere from 24-72 hours to return documents, and our folks haven't even had a chance to have resources translated in language for them."

The resources for help are costly, and Paguio said that's where AT&T stepped up.

Support from this new campaign will continue to focus on education, outreach, and discussion.

"I think the storytelling aspect will be incredibly important."

"We want to partner with organizations who are going to drive the most impact," said Corey Anthony, Chief Diversity and Development Officer for AT&T.

Anthony said the campaign would bring attention, raise awareness, and inspire others.

"We do believe one of the most powerful, impactful ways to change people's behavior and change people's thinking is when they have a different experience."

WarnerMedia said the PSA campaign launched at the end of March and is on cable, digital, streaming, and social platforms.

The three different PSA's include ways in which the public can help via Text-To-Donate information for the Asian American Chamber of Commerce.

The Asian American businesses are suffering from the COVID-19 pandemic, and Asian Americans Advancing Justice, an organization that advocates for the civil and human rights of Asian Americans.

Both WarnerMedia and AT&T say this isn't the end.

They'll be working to support all communities that are targets of hate and violence.

"We're not naive," Anthony said. "We don't think we'll be able to resolve or eliminate this issue in a matter of weeks or months. It's ongoing work we have to do."

Paguio says there are so many underreported cases of targeted hate against Asians.

He wants people to know where they can get help and that there is strength in diversity.

"As we continue to go through this process and hurt, we will heal, and then we will find ways to make our community and everyone else join us and do a whole lot more good together."

The PSA campaign will continue to air for several months.

WarnerMedia said they "look forward to celebrating Asian Pacific Heritage Month in May with our employees and external constituents with initiatives and campaigns designed to amplify the cultural strength and contributions of the AAPI community".