Obama White House Campaign ‘Act To Change’ Relaunches As Anti-Bullying Nonprofit
The new organization co-founded by actor and activist Maulik Pancholy tackles bullying, especially among Asian American and Pacific Islander youth
As National Bullying Prevention Month comes to an end, the work is just beginning for nonprofit organization Act To Change, which tackles bullying, especially among Asian American and Pacific Islander (AAPI) youth. A public awareness campaign that began under the Obama Administration, Act To Change now relaunches as a nonprofit organization with an inaugural Board of Directors comprising educators and government, business, and nonprofit leaders. The organization aims to empower students, families, and educators with the knowledge and tools needed to stop and prevent bullying.
AAPI youth face unique struggles including language and cultural barriers with peers, a lack of AAPI-specific community resources and racial stereotypes. Some studies have found that half of Asian American students face bullying. Furthermore, two-thirds of Sikh American students and half of Muslim American students have reported being bullied. With the rise of incendiary rhetoric towards immigrants and Muslims, community-specific and culturally sensitive anti-bullying work is essential to ensuring that bullying is identified and addressed.
Led by actor and activist Maulik Pancholy, Act To Change originally began in October 2015 as a public awareness campaign under President Obama’s White House Initiative on Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders (WHIAAPI). The initial launch garnered the support of a coalition of more than 60 media platforms and nonprofit organizations. Over the years, celebrities such as Hasan Minhaj, Kal Penn, Jenny Yang, George Takei and Jeremy Lin have supported the campaign by posting videos and sharing their own stories of bullying.
“Our work to end bullying is more important than ever. At this moment in our country, bullying and prejudice from the top down is setting a tone that gives permission for hatred and bigotry,” said Pancholy. “That’s why we have kept the Act To Change movement alive, now as a nonprofit organization, so that we can fight for safer, more inclusive spaces for our children and our communities.”
Pancholy’s Act To Change co-founders are former Obama WHIAAPI staff members Rebecca Lee and Jill Yu.
Act To Change’s inaugural Board of Directors are:
- Maulik Pancholy, Chairman
- Rebecca Lee, Managing Director
- Jill Yu, Managing Director
- Ru Bhatt
- Grace Choi
- Nicholas Hatcher
- Amit Jani
- Mindy Kordash-Shim
- Belinda Lei
- Richard Leong
- Kavita Mehra
- Saad Qureshi