As Anti-Asian Bullying and Hate Continues, Act To Change Strengthens Alliances with Hollywood, Journalism, and Business

TV stars Tan France and Hudson Yang and powerhouses Michelle Lee, Bing Chen, and Philip Chung join Anti-Bullying Nonprofit’s Advisory Council

As COVID-19 infections continue to rise in the United States, so have reports of racist attacks against people of Asian descent. At this critical time, anti-bullying nonprofit Act To Change is pleased to announce an expansion to its Advisory Council, forging stronger ties to Hollywood, journalism, and business with new members:

  • Tan France, TV Personality
  • Hudson Yang, Actor (Fresh Off the Boat)
  • Michelle Lee, Editor in Chief, Allure
  • Bing Chen, Chairman, Gold House & General Partner, AUM Group
  • Philip W. Chung, Creative Director, YOMYOMF

Act To Change, which became a nonprofit in 2018, aims to end bullying in the Asian American and Pacific Islander (AAPI) community. It is co-founded by actor, activist, and children’s book author (The Best At It) Maulik Pancholy. Act To Change originally launched as a public awareness campaign from President Obama’s White House Initiative on AAPIs. 

“We are so honored to have this slate of all-stars join Act To Change’s Advisory Council,” says Pancholy. “Each new member brings unique value and tremendous passion to the organization, and we look forward to working together to continue our movement to ensure all Asian American and Pacific Islander youth feel safe and proud of who they are.”

All of the newest Advisory Council members actively participated in Act To Change’s recent AAPI Day Against Bullying and Hate on May 18, which garnered participation from more than a dozen cities and nearly 200 organizations throughout the country. The day commemorated Vincent Chin’s birthday and called for communities to take a stand against bullying and hate.

To provide support for AAPI students, caregivers, and educators during the rise in anti-Asian hate crimes amid COVID-19, Act To Change launched its COVID-19 Convos series in the spring. In June, Act To Change hosted Solidarity Convos to discuss how AAPIs can support the Black Live Matter movement and Pride Convos to explore intersectional identities and the connection between Pride Month and Black Lives Matter. 

Act To Change continues to collaborate with celebrities, research groups, and leaders across all sectors to grow awareness about the need for bullying prevention. 

More on the new Advisory Council members:
  • Tan France has been a successful fashion designer behind-the-scenes for over 15 years and became a breakout star following the launch of the Emmy-winning reboot of the reality makeover series “Queer Eye” in 2018. 
  • Hudson Yang, named by Variety, The Wrap and other publications as a rising star to watch in young Hollywood, spent six years as irrepressible protagonist Eddie on ABC’s historic Asian American family sitcom “Fresh Off the Boat”. 
  • Michelle Lee is the Editor in Chief of Allure. Since taking the helm in 2015, Lee has been committed to championing diversity and expanding the definition of beauty.
  • Bing Chen is an entrepreneur, creator, and an equalization builder. He is Chairman and Co-founder of Gold House, the largest collective of pioneering leaders dedicated to forging stronger bonds that enhance Asian representation and success. He is also General Partner and Co-founder of AUM Group, a multicultural film fund. 
  • Philip W. Chung oversees the creative content for YOMYOMF, director Justin Lin’s (Star Trek Beyond, Fast & Furious franchise) Asian American-centric digital company, and has worked in various capacities in film, TV, theater and digital. 

Apply for the Act To Change Board



Are you interested in working with students, families, educators and allies to combat bullying in schools and in the media? Join the board to make an impact on the lives of AAPI youth and put an end to bullying.


Applications are due no later than August 1st, 2020.

Interviews will occur on a rolling basis until September 3rd 2020.


Board Member Responsibilities

1. Time Commitment Each board member is expected to serve a 2-year calendar term and attend all monthly board meetings.  

2. Be a Lead/Project Manager/Serve as Chief Motivator for at least 1 program or operation-related effort

3. Participate in at least 2 Act To Change programs 



About Act To Change

Act To Change (ATC) is dedicated to ending bullying, especially among AAPI youth. It leverages a comprehensive approach spanning programming, partnerships, digital outreach, and policy and advocacy to drive change. ATC originally launched in 2015 as a public awareness campaign under President Obama’s White House Initiative on AAPIs and relaunched as a nonprofit in 2018. In 2019, ATC led the first-ever AAPI Day Against Bullying+Hate and hosted its first youth conference, Strength in Solidarity: Building Communities of Kindness, in LA with actors Punam Patel and Hudson Yang.  In 2020, ATC responded to the increasing incidences of hate against AAPIs amid the COVID19 pandemic by launching a #CovidConvos dialogue series and a second annual AAPI Day Against Bullying + Hate. The virtual program UNITED WE STAND rallied 200 organizations and featured guests including Daniel Dae Kim, Lisa Ling, Tan France, Padma Lakshmi, John Cho, Kal Penn, garnering 1300+ live views.

Act To Change Stands In Solidarity With Black Communities

With the recent police murder of George Floyd, the militarized response to local demonstrations, and the deaths of Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery, and countless others, Act To Change firmly demands justice for the innocent Black lives lost — and an end to the systemic racism, violence, and hate that have plagued our country for far too long. 

Actor, author, and Act To Change co-founder Maulik Pancholy offers this statement, “All people deserve to live free of violence, and at Act To Change, we know that racism and inequities are deeply embedded in our society. We call on all AAPI communities to stand firmly with Black people in our shared fight to end systemic racism and violence against people of color.”

Pancholy further adds, “Our communities share the pain of racism and xenophobia, yet we recognize Black communities have been dehumanized in this country in unparalleled ways. Injustice in one community affects us all. Together, we must speak out, stand in solidarity, and create a world where every person and every young person can feel safe and proud of who they are.”

Act To Change calls on the Asian American and Pacific Islander community to stand in solidarity with the Black community and the movement for Black lives. Bullying and intolerance of the AAPI community is rooted in a larger system that affects all of us. We must stand together and dismantle this system of injustice that has allowed for inhumane acts, including murder, to continue by those who abuse their power. We demand justice. 

We commit to our fight to end hate and urge you to join us. 

To join in solidarity with AAPI Minnesotan organizations, visit here.

Raise your voices on social media. Use the hashtags #BlackLivesMatter and #Asians4BlackLives.

Cities, States, Elected Officials, Influencers, and Organizations Stand United on National Asian American and Pacific Islander Day Against Bullying and Hate

“Our mission at Act To Change is to protect and empower youth within our diverse AAPI communities, including Asian American, Pacific Islander, Sikh, Muslim, LGBTQI, and immigrant youth. Act To Change puts together an annual national AAPI Day Against Bullying and Hate to stand in solidarity and recommit to our movement. Sadly, COVID-19 has only exacerbated the xenophobia and racism that AAPI communities have always faced. It’s inspiring to see leaders and individuals from all over the country stand with us, honor the legacy of Vincent Chin, and pledge today and everyday, to stand up against bullying and hate.” 

— Actor, Author, and Act To Change Co-Founder Maulik Pancholy

Today, May 18, 2020, marks the second annual Asian American and Pacific Islander (AAPI) National Day Against Bullying and Hate, led by AAPI anti-bullying nonprofit Act To Change. AAPIs have long faced violence, hate, and bullying, and now the COVID-19 pandemic has sparked rising numbers of anti-Asian hate crimes. Advocates, celebrities, and elected officials are rallying together today to call for communities to stand united against violence, xenophobia, and racism. The organization will also host a live virtual event, UNITED WE STAND, featuring a line-up of AAPI influencers, leaders, and allies. 

Fast Facts:

  • About 1 in 5 students report being bullied during the school year
  • 50% of Asian American students report bias-based harassment
  • Two-thirds of Sikh American students report being bullied
  • Half of Muslim American students report being bullied due to their religion
  • Founded in March in response to a rising surge of anti-Asian hate crimes, STOP AAPI HATE has received more than 1,900 reports of hate crimes 
  • Anti-Muslim, anti-Sikh, and anti-immigrant hate crimes have seen dramatic increases in the past 4 years

AAPI Day Against Bullying and Hate is observed during Asian Pacific American Heritage Month and on May 18, the birthday of Vincent Chin, who was murdered in an anti-Asian hate crime in 1982. This year would have been his 65th birthday. Nearly 200 organizations and more than a dozen cities and states across the country are joining in this day, including:

  • Los Angeles
  • New York City
  • Chicago
  • San Francisco
  • Washington DC
  • Boston
  • Phoenix
  • Seattle
  • Dallas
  • Houston
  • Atlanta
  • Jersey City
  • Des Moines
  • St. Louis County, Missouri
  • Irvine, California
  • Buena Park, California
  • Burlington, New Jersey
  • Torrance, California
  • State of Illinois
  • State of Delaware
  • State of New Jersey
  • The Congressional Asian Pacific American Caucus
  • The National Council of Asian Pacific Americans
  • Asian Americans Advancing Justice
  • Japanese American Citizens League
  • Empowering Pacific Islander Communities
  • The Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights
  • Teach For America
  • Human Rights Campaign
  • The Trevor Project
  • Hispanic Federation 
  • League of United Latin American Citizens

To view the full list of partners and more details, visit

To join the conversation on social media, use #DayAgainstBullying and #ActToChange. Through its website, Act To Change offers anti-bullying and anti-hate resources including in multiple Asian languages.

News Coverage
  • Coronavirus Hate Crimes Changed Focus for Asian American Pacific Heritage Month, Good Morning America
  • John Cho, Randall Park, Lisa Ling, Kal Penn And More Join Act To Change’s Virtual Anti-Racism Event, Deadline
  • De Blasio, John Cho, Rep. Grace Meng unite for event to fight racism against Asian Americans, The Hill
  • Asian American Celebrities Share Stories of Being Bullied, AdWeek
  • Brands Need to Show Support and Make Actionable Change for the Asian American Community, Angry Asian Man
  • AAPI Day Against Bullying and Hate Livestream Tackles a Legacy of Hate and What Needs to Change, AsAmNews
  • Hollaback joins Act To Change, Hollaback
  • JACL recognizes Day Against Bullying and Hate, RAFU
  • GLAAD Joins Act To Change in Marking Second Annual AAPI Day Against Bullying and Hate, GLAAD
  • CAPAC Members Observe AAPI Day Against Bullying and Hate, CAPAC
  • NAPAWF Supports Act To Change’s Day Against Bullying and Hate, NAPAWF

Join Us for AAPI Day Against Bullying+Hate

Join us for a nationwide recognition of the 2nd annual Asian American and Pacific Islander (AAPI) Day Against Bullying + Hate on May 18.

Act To Change is rallying the nation — including cities, elected officials, influencers, and community organizations — around the second annual AAPI Day Against Bullying+Hate on May 18, 2020.

With bullying, discrimination, and hate crimes against Asian Americans on the rise during Covid-19, it’s more important now than ever that we stand up to xenophobia and racism. Act To Change’s day-of virtual program, UNITED WE STAND, will commemorate this day with special guests and performances.

Moderated by Maulik Pancholy, Actor, Author, & Co-Founder of Act To Change.

Special guests include:

  • Tan France, TV Personality
  • Lisa Ling, Journalist
  • John Cho, Actor
  • Padma Lakshmi, Food Expert & Author
  • Kal Penn, Actor, Producer & former Associate Director of the White House Office of Public Engagement
  • Randall Park, Actor, Writer & Producer
  • New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio and First Lady Chirlane McCray
  • Jose Antonio Vargas, Founder, Define American
  • Helen Zia, Author/Activist
  • Poorna Jagannathan, Actor, Netflix’s Never Have I Ever
  • Hudson Yang, Actor, Fresh Off the Boat
  • Celia Au and Lawrence Kao, Actors, Wu Assassins
  • Punam Patel, Actor, Netflix’s SPECIAL
  • Congresswoman Grace Meng (NY-06)
  • Bing Chen, Chairman, Gold House & General Partner, AUM Group
  • Michelle Lee, Editor in Chief, Allure

…and more!

More details at

With COVID-19 Racist Attacks On the Rise, Teach For America’s National Community Alliances Vice President Sarah Ha Joins Fight Against Bullying in the Asian American and Pacific Islander Community

Ha Joins Advisory Council of AAPI Anti-Bullying Nonprofit During Time of Increased Xenophobia

As COVID-19 has spread across the United States, so have reports of racist attacks against people of Asian descent. At this critical time, anti-bullying nonprofit Act To Change is pleased to announce that Sarah Ha, Vice President of National Community Alliances at Teach For America (TFA), joins its inaugural Advisory Council. Act To Change, which became a nonprofit in 2018, aims to prevent bullying in the Asian American and Pacific Islander (AAPI) community. It is co-founded by actor, activist, and children’s book author (The Best At It) Maulik Pancholy.

“We are thrilled to have Sarah Ha join Act To Change’s Advisory Council. Since our start, Sarah has been a huge supporter of our mission to end bullying in the Asian American and Pacific Islander community,” says Pancholy. “With a rise in bullying and hate crimes across the country amid COVID-19, our work is more important now than ever. With Sarah’s deep background in and passion for educational equity and building diverse coalitions, she will continue to be an exceptional partner in our movement to ensure all AAPI youth are safe and feel proud of who they are.”

Sarah Ha

Says Ha, “As someone who was bullied as a child, I’ve experienced firsthand how bullying can impact the physical, mental, social, and emotional development and well-being of children that can last into adulthood. Bullying is a pervasive problem in our nation’s schools. It has significant consequences for everyone: those who are bullied, those who bully, and those who witness bullying. It’s up to all of us to ensure that students feel safe and supported at school, online, and in our communities. I’m thrilled to work with Act To Change to co-create brave and safe spaces where every child feels seen, heard, and affirmed for who they are and also feel an authentic sense of responsibility and accountability towards each other, especially the most marginalized amongst us.” 

Ha’s first official engagement will be this Friday, April 17, in Act To Change’s second COVID-19 CONVOS: Rising Above Bullying and Hate, a series of virtual conversations to support parents, educators, youth, and community members amid the rise in racist incidents during the COVID-19 pandemic. Moderated by Pancholy, the conversation will also feature actor and producer Randall Park (Always Be My Maybe, Fresh Off the Boat).

Act To Change initially launched in 2015 as a public awareness campaign under President Obama’s White House Initiative on Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders. Since its launch, the nonprofit has organized multiple nationwide events, including a Los Angeles-based Strength in Solidarity Youth Conference last May sponsored by Teach For America; led the first-ever national AAPI Day Against Bullying and Hate with participation from major cities and organizations throughout the country; and collaborated with celebrities, research groups, and leaders across all sectors to grow awareness about the need for bullying prevention. 

As Vice President of National Community Alliances at TFA, Ha is responsible for driving the organization’s external engagement strategy with national civil rights and aligned organizations, leading and working alongside a team of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion senior leaders who manage the AAPI Community Alliances, Black Community Alliances, DACA Initiative, Latinx Community Alliances, LGBTQ+ Community Initiative, and Native Alliances. Her team collectively works to bring the intersectional partnerships, advocacy, resources, and opportunities to further cultivate the skills and mindsets necessary for systems change in their networks to shape a child-centric educational equity ecosystem. 

Sarah has over 15 years of experience working in multicultural affairs, conducting research on the educational experiences of underrepresented and underserved students in higher education and implementing diversity, equity, and inclusion programming and initiatives. Before coming to Teach For America, Sarah served as the Senior Director of Programs and Student Affairs at the Gates Millennium Scholars (GMS) Program and APIA Scholars (formerly known as the Asian & Pacific Islander American Scholarship Fund (APIASF)) in Washington, DC. Prior to that, Sarah worked in the Office of the Dean of Students at the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA), the UCLA LGBT Campus Resource Center, and served as an Intergroup Dialogue Facilitator dedicated to creating inclusive, affirming, and diverse campus environments. 

Fighting Coronavirus and the Virus of Bullying on International Stand Up to Bullying Day 2020

On International Stand Up to Bullying Day, Act To Change condemns any act of racism and bullying, especially those that are stemming from the growing fear of COVID-19. This Day started in 2008, when 236 schools, workplaces and organizations representing more than 125,000 students and staff registered to take a stand against bullying by signing and wearing a special pink pledge shirt. Wearing a pink shirt today shows that you are willing to show support for victims of bullying.


This day of prevention and awareness comes at a critical point of time where Asian Americans are increasingly facing racist remarks amidst the knowledge that covid-19 made its first appearance in Asia. The knowledge has led to the avoidance of and attacks towards anyone of Asian descent, regardless of if they have had no contact from anyone related to the epicenter. Many members of the AAPI community are receiving verbal insults, or disgusted looks by people around them. Recent news of a 16-year old high school student being physically attacked by his bullies shows the rapid escalation of acts of bullying and violence.


The Center for Disease Control has warned that the virus will soon spread in America, saying that it’s “not a question of if, but rather when.” Act To Change calls on everyone to use healthy precautionary measures, not xenophobic rhetoric, to stay safe. Some ways to protect yourself and others are by washing your hands properly, covering your mouth and nose while coughing or sneezing and using a face mask if you are sick.


Act To Change encourages parents, teachers, school administrators and staff to stay proactive in monitoring acts of bullying in relation to the widespread fear of COVID-19. Bullying and harassment are especially prevalent in a school environment, and it’s never okay for a child to not feel safe in their place of learning.


Lastly, Act To Change urges the public to document and share any cases of bullying online. When we raise our voices and reach out to our online community for help, more positive changes are likely to happen. We encourage you to use the hashtag #ActToChange when sharing your stories, so that we can help to amplify your voice.


We must always remember to confront the person with education, and not with rage. If someone is scared of contracting COVID-19 from you simply because of your race or minor ailments, remind them that the virus originated in a different subcontinent. While it has spread in many countries since then, you have not visited any of the infected areas and therefore are not a risk to anyone. The best way to combat the virus is to not panic and spread unnecessary blame.


On International Stand Up to Bullying Day, we hope that you will wear a pink shirt in solidarity to victims of bullying, and that you will speak up against any acts of violence around you.

The First Ever Act to Change Report of Bullying Recommendations

In collaboration with the New Jersey Leadership Program (NJLP), which selects ten South Asian students in high school and college throughout the state every year and place them in a full time Summer internship with the Governor’s Office, State Agencies, Member of Congress or State Legislator, Act to Change is proud to announce its first ever report of bullying recommendations.

New Jersey has been on the forefront of bullying prevention since the state passed its first anti-bullying law in 2011 referred to as “harassment, Intimidation, and Bullying” (or HIB). However, in recent years, there has been an increase in bullying towards students of Asian-Pacific Islander decent. With the passage of Assemblyman Robert Karabinchak and Assemblywoman Reynolds-Jackson’s bill creating an anti-bullying policy review taskforce, it is important for the public to examine these policies themselves. It is important to find out what works and what doesn’t, so that we can modify our policies to ensure a safe learning environment for students in the State of New Jersey.

To foster the mental, emotional, and physical safety of young people in this state, effective policy must be established. Through this, we can ensure better social and educational outcomes for students across the state of New Jersey and the country.

Summary of Policy Recommendations

In order to improve the policies in place across the state, the Legislature and the school districts should:

  • Make a significant investment in counseling personnel and provide counseling departments with the resources to improve the school environment.
  • Provide specificity in the district policies and state laws concerning what constitutes hate speech and under which circumstances racism crosses into harassment, so that schools can properly administer themselves and better educate the parents, staff, and students.
  • Require of the anti-bullying taskforce that it consult with students and create a comprehensive report after its consideration.
  • Require of school districts that the Superintendent of Schools must present a monthly report on harassment, intimidation, and bullying in the district to the local Board of Education and an annual report on the same to the state Department of Education each June.
  • Create a Division of Student Health within the state Department of Education focused on ensuring the health of the student bodies across the state and the proper administration of the anti-bullying policies.
  • Appropriate funds in the state budget specifically for bullying prevention and remediation programs in schools and statewide.

Click below to read the full report:

Creating Safe and Inclusive Anti-Bullying Policy

Divisions Inside the United : A Story of Bullying

The year after I went on my first visit to India, I started school. In 2008, kids in New Jersey of AAPI descent had been raised to integrate into society, and barely any visited their home country. As we teens call it, I was practically “fresh off the boat”. 

I remember the first day of kindergarten so clearly. I had 5 different tables I could choose to sit at. Some days, I look back and wonder what would have happened had I sat at the table near the door. But I instinctively chose the one with an Indian girl sitting at it. I thought we would click right away. Wrong. 

Every day, I went to school and forgot who I was. I followed orders from a girl who told me I couldn’t draw. I blindly continued to want to please her. I was innocent and thought this would help us become better friends. Eventually, I realized she was doing this so she could gain attention from the popular girls and show them she had her own “clique” too.

By the time I finally escaped the endless cycle of torture, which took a very long 3 years, more Asians started moving into my town. I started to have two types of friends: my friends outside of school who were in-tune to their Indian roots, and my friends in school who were very Americanized. 

I couldn’t fit into either of these categories, and it made me feel more isolated than ever. I didn’t know how to balance being a typical American kid in school, versus being as cultured amongst my friends outside of it. 


I had two lives when I was younger: one which embraced my Indian culture, and one which tried to fit into the norms of school because of my experience with bullying.

I’ve learned to embrace both sides of me equally by talking about it and learning a lot of people go through the same experience. I’m happier than I ever could have been.


For most, this cycle of self-doubt never ends. Once you start becoming too much like your American counterparts, the friends from the temple start thinking you aren’t like them, and vice versa. It’s like treading eggshells. 

The worst part was, I didn’t know who to talk to about it. I didn’t know if my friends would understand, because they were part of the problem. My parents defined struggle as moving an entire family into a whole new place, not social issues. So I ended up chained to a dark place inside of me, feeling like there was no way out. Even when I tried to call for help, my voice seemed to echo off of empty walls. Who would believe that I was getting bullied by another Indian girl? I couldn’t believe it myself. 

I’ve noticed there’s a stereotype for bullying. People think of a white person making fun of someone from this community for how they look or their culture. It goes off the radar when members of the same community. It can even be scarier talking about bullies inside your own ethnic community because it’s so unorthodox. So as October’s Bullying Prevention Awareness Month, try to talk to someone if you’ve gone through something like this. You’re not alone.

Esha Peer is a fellow of the New Jersey Leadership Program, a non-partisan, nonprofit 501(c)3 organization dedicated to promoting South Asian American youth participation and education at the local level of government in the State of New Jersey, and a junior at the South Brunswick High School. She is the president of her class, editor-in-training of her school newspaper, and an active member of a cultural club in her school, the Asian Cultural Club. Esha loves to travel and travel vlog, write, dance, and watch movies. Esha also loves politics. She hopes to study international relations or business in the future. 

Meet Act To Change’s Maulik Pancholy at your local bookstore

Act To Change Co-Founder and Chairman Maulik Pancholy will be releasing his debut middle grade novel, THE BEST AT IT, on October 8. Published by HarperCollins Publishers/Balzer + Bray, the book recounts the story of Rahul Kapoor, a gay Indian American middle school boy coming into his own in a small town in the Midwest.

Come meet Maulik in person as he tours nationally this fall. Locations and dates include:

  • New York, NY – October 7 at 6pm, Books of Wonder / 18th Street
  • Doylestown, PA – October 8 at 6pm, Doylestown Bookshop
  • Dayton, OH – October 11 at 7pm, Books & Co
  • Denver, CO – October 14 at 6pm, Book Bar
  • Los Angeles, CA – October 16 at 6:30pm, Vroman’s Bookstore
  • Washington, DC – October 29 at 7pm, Politics and Prose

Click here for more information.

Maulik Pancholy is an award-winning actor whose television credits include “30 Rock,” “Whitney,” “Elementary,” “The Good Wife,” “The Comeback,” “The Sopranos,” and “Law & Order: Criminal Intent,” among others. He is also the voice of Baljeet on the Emmy Award–winning animated series, “Phineas and Ferb,” and of Sanjay on “Sanjay and Craig.”