A different kind of plague has emerged with renewed force in the last year alongside COVID-19: the rise of hate crimes against Asians and Asian-Americans in the U.S. The spike in anti-Asian violence began around a year ago when the coronavirus pandemic first reached American shores, and was exacerbated by former President Donald Trump and other federal officials repeatedly calling COVID-19 the “China virus” or the “Kung flu.” But recent months have begun to rack up a body count — notably, an elderly Thai man who was killed in San Francisco in January — and the growing public advocacy of Asian-American celebrities, who have called for change.
Last week, Disney+ released a statement offering its support to the AAPI organizations amid the rising hate crimes, and now Pixar has gone a step further: releasing two Pixar SparkShorts created by Asian filmmakers in solidarity with the Asian and Asian-American communities.
Pixar has been steadily releasing some of its SparkShorts to YouTube to spread them to a wider audience, but two releases for the shorts Float and Wind come with a special message:
Pixar Animation Studios and the SparkShorts filmmakers…are in solidarity with the Asian and Asian American communities against Anti-Asian hate in all its forms. We are proud of the onscreen representation in this short and have decided to make it widely available, in celebration of what stories that feature Asian characters can do to promote inclusion everywhere.
Watch the two SparkShorts below.
The YouTube release of both the Asian-led shorts (the latter of which speaks is a beautiful little ode to the sacrifices that come with the immigrant experience) are in clear solidarity with the Asian communities who are enduring the rising attacks. In January, 84-year-old Thai American Vicha Ratanapakdee was brutally shoved in San Francisco and later died. In that same month, a young man young man shoved three elderly people to the ground from behind in the city’s Chinatown neighborhood in Oakland, California, knocking one unconscious. Last week, a 36-year-old Asian man in New York’s Chinatown was stabbed and taken to the hospital in critical condition.
The anti-Asian hate that had long simmered under the surface in the U.S. has violently resurfaced, largely due to Trump’s incendiary comments linking COVID-19 to Chinese people (and by extent, all Asians in the U.S.). President Joe Biden issued an executive order condemning the attacks in January, calling for better data collection about hateful incidents, and mandates federal agencies to fight “racism, xenophobia, and intolerance” directed at Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders, or AAPI.
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