#IAMNOTAVIRUS campaign aims to curb negativity surrounding Asian American community during coronavirus outbreak

Coronavirus

CONNECTICUT (WTNH) — Two friends are working to break down the stereotypes surrounding Asian Americans during the coronavirus outbreak.

The project was started by photographers Moses Farrow, the son of Woody Allen and Mia Farrow, and Mike Keo.

Farrow partnered with Keo, a West Hartford resident, to create the #IAMNOTAVIRUS campaign, which features Asian Americans showing that they are not the face or cause of the virus — which first made headlines in China — but are just people.

“It’s really important for us to showcase people not just as Asian Americans but as who they were and what they liked,” Keo said.

Keo told News 8 he was inspired to get involved with the project after a family member was out in public and was accused of having the virus because of her race.

“I want them [the nation] to see these people and see that they can be your friends. They are your neighbors; they’re your healthcare providers; they’re people that are a part of your community…We’re in this together, and we want people to acknowledge that, see that, and be kind to one another.”

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“I am a father, a gardener, and a storyteller.” Hello! My name is @mikekeo and I am the one behind the camera. I began this initiative with my friend @mosesafarrow A 13-year-old girl on the radio talks about being bullied at school; they mock her and call her Corona. My sister-in-law, an adult, was harassed while buying groceries by someone accusing her of being a carrier of COVID-19. On a recent morning, before sending our older son off to Pre-K, we reminded him that he was as American as anyone else and that he belongs – just in case. Fortunately, as a photographer, my family and I have interacted personally with people from all different backgrounds, who treat us with love and respect. I truly believe most of us are guided by our better angels. But even so, the Asian American community must be visible and use our voices at this moment in time. In the wake of the Coronavirus outbreak we are taking portraits of Asian Americans to dispel the racism and ignorance surrounding the virus. The series is titled #IAMNOTAVIRUS. Viruses are not race specific and drawing divisions in a time of crisis is unwise and foolish. This portrait series aims to show that not only do Asian Americans belong but they are deeply rooted into the fabric of America. * * * . #asianamerican #khmerican #portraitseries #portraitphotographer #portraitphotoshoot #portraitphotographers #connecticutphotographer #manchesterphotographer #ctphotographer #ctphotographers #hartfordct #manchesterct #glastonburyct #wethersfieldct #vernonct #easthartfordct #westhartfordct #ctbusiness #flattenthecurve #ctlocal #subtleasiantraits

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“It has been really tremendous having people come and volunteer their portraits, put who they are out there,” said Farrow. “We’re not just Asian Americans; we’re people of your community.”

The campaign is featured online and grows a little more every day. Those interested in sharing their story can do so on the pair’s website.

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