'I am Liberian, not a virus': Mother launches campaign to stop West Africans facing Ebola stigmatisation in the US

TV presenter and photographer Shoana Solomon has published a video online to combat discrimination

Click to follow
The Independent US

A Liberian-American mother has helped launch a campaign to stop the stigmatisation of those from countries affected by the Ebola outbreak in West Africa.

TV presenter and photographer Shoana Solomon published a video online to combat discrimination after her daughter was told "you're from Liberia, so you have a disease", while at school.

The video's slogan "I am Liberian, not a virus" has now been picked up online as Liberians and West Africans across the world post pictures of themselves to Twitter holding up signs carrying the line.

In the video, Ms Soloman tells viewers how her daughter came home from school "hurt and upset" after being told she had a disease.

She says: "We are Liberians, Sierra Leoneans, Guineans and Nigerians.

"We live in a region that has been devastated by a deadly disease but we are not all infected.

"It is wrong to stereotype and stigmatise an entire people. Remember, we are human beings. I am a Liberian, not a virus."

According to reports, Liberians across the US have experienced stigmatisation in relation to Ebola.

A meeting last week was held in Staten Island, New York, home to the largest population of Liberians outside of Africa, in order to combat such discrimination.

Liberian-American Charles Roberts told ABC 7 Eyewitness News: "When they ask you where you come from, you say Liberia and then they turn their back to you."

The worst Ebola outbreak on record has killed more than 4,500 people, mostly in Liberia, Sierra Leone and Guinea.

Only three Ebola cases have been diagnosed in the United States: Liberian Thomas Eric Duncan, who died on October 8 at Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital in Dallas, and two nurses who treated him.

Additional reporting by Reuters