Act to Change – A White House Campaign against Bullying
By C. Naseer Ahmad
The White House Initiative on Asian American and Pacific Islanders launched the “Act to Change” - a nationwide public awareness campaign, on October 15, 2015, in partnership with the Sikh Coalition and the Coalition of Asian Pacifics in Entertainment (CAPE) , to address bullying, including in the Asian American and Pacific Islander (AAPI) community.
According to a White House email, this campaign is backed by a diverse coalition of supporters including media platforms and national nonprofit organizations, and the “Act to Change” campaign aims to empower AAPI youth, educators, and communities with information and tools to address and prevent bullying.
The Act To Change website has a clear and unmistakable focus. It asks every website visitor some basic questions: “Have you been bullied or know someone who has? Been teased for the way you look, what you wear, what you eat, where you’re from, how you talk, or other stereotypes? It’s not okay. Know that you are not alone and together we can make a difference. Learn about it. Talk about it. Stop it.” The website is a call to action prompting the visitors to take the pledge to stop bullying.
Echoes of this vigorous campaign have been felt on social media such as Twitter which can be searched via the social media tag #ActToChange. This coordinated campaign will “provide AAPI youth and community members with platforms to share their stories, engage in dialogue around bullying awareness and prevention, and “Take the Pledge” to join the #ActToChange movement.”
Since bullying can have severe social consequences, the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Administration (SAMHSA) , within the Department of Health and Human Services, is also engaged in this campaign to prevent bullying.
As part of the campaign during the month of October 2015, “video testimonials, music playlists, and blog stories provide messages of empowerment and support from AAPI athletes, artists, entertainers, and community members.” The White House Initiative recognizes that “one in three AAPIs does not speak English fluently,” therefore “the campaign offers resources in multiple languages: Chinese, Hindi, Korean, Punjabi, Urdu, and Vietnamese.”