Unmask the Racism is a CU Boulder Engineering student-led initiative that aims to raise awareness about anti-Asian sentiment/racism due to COVID-19 and to show support for Asian and Asian American communities.
Kimberly Fung (MechEngr'23) and other Unmask the Racism team members shared deep concerns about the reports of racist acts and xenophobia against Asian Americans as early as February 2020. The group was formed as a call-to-action with a goal to engage the community and spark conversations about Asian American history, awareness of anti-Asian hate, and to connect the communities with positive representation of sharing space together. The group’s recent efforts include the #WokItOut challenge and More Than 1000 Cranes Project.
Through the #WokItOut challenge, launched in August 2020, Unmask the Racism aimed to support local Asian businesses. The social media campaign encouraged people to eat at local Asian restaurants, leave positive reviews on social media sites like Yelp, and share their post for friends to see. The campaign included meal deliveries from Asian restaurants to essential workplaces during the holiday season. Their goal was to serve 300 essential workers in the local area with deliveries to fire stations, hospitals, and shelters. Kimberly said the team accomplished two things, “providing support to Asian-owned businesses and spreading gratitude to health care workers and first responders during the pandemic.”
In March 2021, the More Than a 1000 Cranes Project was launched to raise awareness about anti-Asian racism and bring allyship to Black and Indigenous People of Color (BIPOC) communities. Unmask the Racism promoted the project to the local university and larger Boulder community, encouraging everyone to participate in folding over 1,000 origami cranes.
“We want to create a place where people could express themselves and could help without feeling like they were overstepping,” said Fung.
In March 2022, Unmask the Racism presented their community art project at the Museum of Boulder in an exhibit space called the Mason’s Nook, displaying more than 2,000 cranes.
“I remember setting up the art exhibit and saw an Asian family walk in to look at the exhibit," Fung said. "I recognized them when I looked at who followed us on social media the next day. The Boulder and CU community have been super supportive, and everything has been great.”
Unmask the Racism continues to educate and spread awareness about xenophobia and racism against people of Asian heritage around the country. They encourage the community to look beyond the scope of their campaign, to focus on society and collaboration among ethnicity groups. Stay tuned for upcoming campaigns and events by following the group on Instagram, Twitter and Facebook, or by emailing email@example.com.
Photos, clockwise from top: Fung with mentor Carrie Adams at the Museum of Boulder exhibit, Unmask the Racism team deliver 36 meals from Aloy Thai (Boulder) and China Gourmet (Longmont) to local Boulder county fire stations, and More than 1000 Paper Cranes exhibit at the museum.