Washington, Oct 16: The White House has teamed up with a Sikh and an Asia Pacific community group to launch a public awareness campaign to address bullying in six languages including Hindi, Punjabi and Urdu.
The resources for the "Act To Change" campaign are also available in Chinese, Korean, and Vietnamese as one out of three in the Asian American and Pacific Islander (AAPI) community does not speak English fluently.
The initiative launched, in partnership with the Sikh Coalition and the Coalition of Asian Pacifics in Entertainment, will also feature video testimonials of AAPI celebrity athletes, artists, and entertainers.
"Growing up, sometimes people made me feel like an outsider; I was the perfect storm of nerdy, gay, and Indian American," wrote Maulik Pancholy, a member of the President's Advisory Commission on AAPI discussing the campaign.
"But now, I've come to find that those very things that were sometimes used as fodder against me are the things I love the most about myself," he wrote in a White House blog post.
"I have the privilege to be connected to amazing communities of incredible people: people who know that it's actually cool to nerd out about stuff, who celebrate the strength and joy of what it means to identify as LGBT, and who appreciate the rich cultural heritage of being Indian American."
"It's okay to be weird, but it's NOT okay to be bullied," said Pancholy, noting: "Every day, kids of all ages suffer from being bullied in schools across the country."
In the AAPI community, this problem is often complicated by cultural, religious, and linguistic barriers that can keep AAPI youth from getting the help they need, he said.
"And we've seen that certain AAPI groups - including South Asian, Muslim, Sikh, Micronesian, and limited English proficient youth - are more likely to be the targets of bullying," Pancholy wrote.
In addition to raising awareness, the campaign encourages AAPI youth and adults to share their stories, engage in community dialogues, and take action against bullying.
The campaign website, ActToChange.org, includes video and music empowerment playlists, and encourages one to "Take a Pledge" to join the #ActToChange movement and stand up against bullying.
The Sikh Coalition has also launched a new anti-bullying awareness video. The short five-minute film was developed for community members to share on social media to raise awareness to the challenges that Sikh children face when confronting this problem.
Sikh children are acutely vulnerable to abuse in our nation's schools, said the Sikh Coalition's law and policy director, Arjun Singh.
"The bullying of Sikh children is an epidemic," he said noting that the Coalition's 2014 national bullying report found that 67 percent of turbaned Sikh children have been bullied.