The Asian American Foundation (TAAF) and a coalition of partners including the Ford Foundation, MacArthur Foundation, The Henry Luce Foundation and the Wallace H. Coulter Foundation, launched the See Us Unite cultural campaign, a multi-platform effort designed to accelerate impact and expand support for the AAPI community. The campaign will launch nationwide on social and outdoor media featuring leading Asian American public figures, including Daniel Dae Kim, Naomi Osaka, Lisa Ling, Jeremy Lin, Fareed Zakaria, Michelle Kwan and many others.
As part of the campaign, on May 21, 2021, MTV Entertainment will broadcast “See Us Unite for Change – The Asian American Foundation (TAAF) in service of the AAPI Community,” at 8:00pm EDT/PDT across its portfolio of brands (MTV, Comedy Central, Paramount Network, Smithsonian Channel, Pop TV, VH1, CMT, TV Land and Logo) as well as BET and Nickelodeon, and stream exclusively on Facebook Watch. Hosted by Ken Jeong, the event will feature performances by artists including Jhene Aiko, Saweetie, Sting and more as well as appearances by Daniel Dae Kim and Lisa Ling, among many others. The event will also explore the history and contributions of Asian Americans and will feature testimonials from leading Asian American public figures, as well as individuals working to enact change on the ground, including Amanda Ngoc Nguyen, Ai-Jen Poo, Prof. Karthick Ramakrishnan and John C. Yang. The show’s sponsorship is led by TAAF, along with Bank of America, Etsy, Verizon and ViacomCBS.
“We are honored to stand shoulder to shoulder with the Asian American and Pacific Islander community to celebrate their incredible contributions and stand up against the rise of bigotry and xenophobia,” says Chris McCarthy, president, MTV Entertainment Group.
American journalist, television personality and author, Lisa Ling posted a video promoting the campaign on her Instagram.
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“Over the past year, we’ve witnessed firsthand the devastating impact of discrimination, violence and hate towards the AAPI community,” says the campaign’s executive producer, Sheila Lirio Marcelo. “But anti-Asian hate has had a long history in this country, and to truly shift perceptions on a larger scale, we must come together to take a stand against discrimination, slander and violence in all of its forms, utilizing every platform and tool that we have access to. Ultimately, our culture is our greatest asset in our effort to change hearts and minds.”
Powerful grassroots-led efforts have emerged in response to the rise in anti-Asian violence and discrimination. To accelerate impact on the ground, the See Us Unite campaign is partnering with the Asian Pacific Fund to drive funding towards organizations including Asian Americans Advancing Justice, Stop AAPI Hate, National Asian Pacific American Women’s Forum (NAPAWF), The Asian American Education Project (AAEdu), Asian Americans/Pacific Islanders in Philanthropy (AAPIP), the National Council of Asian Pacific Americans (NCAPA), and other AAPI organizations. Funds raised from the campaign will be directed towards education and awareness-raising efforts, as well as initiatives that build understanding and solidarity among diverse communities. Wieden+Kennedy provided in-kind support for the launch of the campaign.
“The rise in violence against Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders is the latest in America’s long legacy of racial injustice. Racism is pervasive and it thrives on ignorance. To end it, we have to first acknowledge it,” says Ford Foundation President Darren Walker. “See Us Unite confronts that history and puts a spotlight on experiences that need to be seen and heard, because visibility matters.”
“We stand in solidarity with the Asian American and Pacific Islander community and are committed to the ongoing work to address the challenges of racism, misogyny, and xenophobia in our country,” John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation President John Palfrey says. “See Us Unite is a powerful campaign to combat anti-Asian racism and violence and celebrate the breadth of the AAPI culture and experience.”
TAAF was founded to solve for the longstanding lack of investment and resources provided to AAPI communities and aims to be a catalyzing force for creating a permanent and irrevocable sense of belonging for the 23 million Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders living in the United States. At launch, TAAF’s board of directors raised $125 million to support AAPI organizations and causes over the next five years — the largest philanthropic commitment in history made by Asian Americans fully focused on supporting AAPI communities.