Letter of Support for Dr. Vivek Murthy

February 26, 2021


The Honorable Patty Murray


Committee on Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions

United States Senate

Washington, DC 20510


The Honorable Richard Burr

Ranking Member

Committee on Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions

United States Senate

Washington, DC 20510


Dear Chairman Murray and Ranking Member Burr:


On behalf of Act To Change, we strongly support the nomination of Vivek Murthy, M.D., M.B.A. to the position of Surgeon General of the United States. Dr. Murthy is a champion for the physical, mental, social and emotional health of our nation’s children. He is a tireless anti-bullying advocate and a proven leader who builds coalitions among diverse communities to ensure better health for our country. We believe he will again serve the nation well in this role, especially at this critical time of crisis.


Act To Change is a national non-profit organization dedicated to combating bullying and hate, especially among Asian American and Pacific Islander (AAPI) youth. Act To Change envisions a world where all youth– including from the AAPI, Sikh, Muslim, LGBTQI, and immigrant communities– have the opportunity to grow up feeling supported and proud of who they are. Act To Change supports youth agency in responding to bullying with healthy ways, connects students with culturally-responsive resources, and advocates for systemic change.


Since our organization’s inception, Dr. Murthy has been an avid supporter of our mission to end bullying in the AAPI community. Act To Change originally launched in 2015 as a public awareness campaign under President Barack Obama’s White House Initiative on Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders (WHIAAPI) in which Dr. Murthy served as co-chair. As Act To Change transitioned out of the White House to a grassroots movement, Dr. Murthy provided invaluable support as we became a 501(c)(3) organization in 2018. We were honored to have Dr. Murthy serve as the first member of Act To Change’s inaugural Advisory Council. 


Bullying is a significant public health challenge facing our country. Many students are being bullied in schools due to increasingly anti-immigrant and xenophobic discourse. Unfortunately, many AAPI youth who are bullied also face cultural, religious, and language barriers to getting help. As a well-respected physician and public health expert, Dr. Murthy is keenly aware of the consequences of bullying on the physical, mental, and emotional well-being of children and young adults. As bullying and hate crimes against AAPIs rise across the country, Dr. Murthy’s extensive training, background and passion for emotional health is a critical asset, now more than ever. 


Dr. Murthy has been an invaluable partner in our movement to ensure that all youth feel supported in the development of their identity, and empowered to share their stories.  Dr. Murthy advocates for the victims of bullying, while also seeking to understand and address the perpetrators who are often struggling themselves. We are continually humbled by Dr. Murthy’s dedication to building more inclusive spaces for youth, especially those from communities of color. 


We also support the government’s commitment to diverse leadership. It is important to build a government that truly reflects the rich diversity of our country, including Asian American representation in top leadership roles. In addition, Dr. Murthy has the background and experience of working with diverse communities, and this perspective is critical in serving as Surgeon General when the government must respond to the COVID-19 pandemic and its impact across the nation.


We strongly urge the swift appointment of Dr. Murthy to the position of Surgeon General of the United States. Thank you for your consideration.




Act To Change Board of Directors

  • Maulik Pancholy, Chair & Co-Founder
  • Rebecca Lee, Managing Director & Co-Founder
  • Jill Yu, Managing Director & Co-Founder
  • Belinda Lei, Managing Director
  • Ru Bhatt
  • Josef Canaria
  • Elaine Dang
  • Mindy Kordash-Shim
  • Richard Leong
  • Jamie Lok
  • Saad Qureshi
  • Anthony Reyes
  • Nancy Tien


Statement on the recent rise of anti-Asian hate and violence


A message of hurting, healing, and hope.


We grieve with our elders, our families, and our communities.

None of this is new. Act To Change launched as a public awareness campaign on bullying prevention, out of President Obama’s White House Initiative on Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders, when in some communities more than half of Asian American students reported being bullied, and in others the rate remained far underreported. Since 9/11 there has been a consistent increase in violence and hate towards Sikh, Muslim, and South Asian members of our community, and we saw a similar increase in xenophobic and racist hate that came alongside COVID-19, exacerbated by government leaders using racist terms. Stop AAPI Hate has documented nearly 3,000 hate incidents in the last year.


Just because it isn’t new doesn’t mean it doesn’t hurt. The videos and photos have been so incredibly hard to watch. We’re saddened by how long it took for mainstream news outlets to cover what was happening to our elders, and we’re angry that so many still don’t know what’s been happening. We want justice for our elders and for our communities, and we want to feel like we can belong and exist in this country. 


Our vision is for a world where all youth have the opportunity to grow up feeling proud and supported in the development of their identity and sharing of their stories. Today, we are reminded that dreaming of a better world requires work, and it is in the spirit of hope and hard work that we want to remind our community: The bullying and violence against Asians is rooted in white supremacy culture.


The same systems that shaped the model minority myth also leverage that narrative to pit Asians as a wedge group against other communities of color. We are grateful for the many voices that have risen to support our community, and we call on everyone, especially those with a platform, to amplify efforts to build solidarity with Black, Indigenous and other communities of color to combat and dismantle systemic racism. We cannot be truly anti-racist without centering Black liberation.


Instead of allowing white supremacy to pit us against one another, Act To Change commits to supporting our community by:


  1. Spreading awareness to mobilize others to act in their home and in their communities by offering coordinated support, supporting local organizations working to fight racism within their communities, and amplifying diverse stories and perspectives.
  2. Educating our community and others about the rise in hate and bullying against the AAPI community, examining the systems that perpetuate violence and hate, and finding solutions that are culturally relevant, community centered, trauma informed.
  3. Building coalitions nationally and locally. We specifically believe it is important to listen and follow the lead of local community organizations and activists, and this became particularly pronounced after the violence in the Bay Area, New York City, and so many other places. We encourage everyone to follow the lead of local and grassroots leaders in communities they wish to support, such as the over 40 community organizations in the Bay Area who have banded together under the Oakland Chinatown Coalition.