- Celebrities unite to lend their support to The Asian American Foundation.
- The foundation was founded in response to Asian hate and violence across the US.
- Actor Daniel Dae Kim, tennis superstar Naomi Osaka and Olympian skater Michelle Kwan were among the Asian American celebrities who helped the launch.
A group of celebrities including actors, musicians, athletes, politicians, advocates and executives are uniting to support the launch of The Asian American Foundation in an effort to fight anti-Asian hate and “expand support” for the Asian community.
According to the TAAF website, its mission is “To serve the Asian American and Pacific Islander community in their pursuit of belonging and prosperity that is free from discrimination, slander, and violence.”
The foundation was able to raise $250 million to increase awareness, representation, and education for the Asian American and Pacific Islander community.
TV host Lisa Ling, a member of the TAAF advisory board, told PEOPLE that Asians in the US have been “pretty invisible.”
“On all levels, there’s just been a gross misrepresentation of Asians,” Ling says. “What we are all coming together to do is to try and change that for good.”
The video that announces TAAF’s launch features Ling and other celebrities, including athletes Naomi Osaka, Kevin Durant, James Harden, Jeremy Lin, actor Steven Yeun, singer H.E.R. and more.
“We need to create an America that belongs to all of us,” Philippine-born journalist Jose Antonio Vargas says in the video.
“This has to be an all out effort and it has to be action oriented,” adds Yahoo! co-founder Jerry Yang.
TAAF has also launched a two-hour TV event titled See Us Unite. It will air later this month on MTV, Nickelodeon, BET, Facebook Watch and more.
Actor Ken Jeong will host the event that will feature performances by artists like Jhene Aiko, Saweetie and Sting.
According to PEOPLE, the findings of a study released in March of police department statistics shows that hate crimes against Asian Americans rose by nearly 150 percent in 2020, despite hate crimes overall dropping by 7 percent.
TAAF’s launch event on Tuesday night featured messages from Presidents Bill Clinton, George W. Bush and Barack Obama.
“So many of us are spending at least 75 percent of our headspace on this issue every day,” Ling says. “It’s been hard to focus on anything else. This is life or death for us, and everyone recognizes the significance of this moment.”
Ling said the foundation’s goal is to make a permanent change.
“It’s about fundamentally transforming how we invest in the AAPI community,” Indra Nooyi, the former CEO of PepsiCo’s and another member of TAAF’s advisory board, says in the foundation’s launch video.
Ling concluded: “This isn’t just for us, it’s for future generations.”