‘I am not a virus,’ Liberians hit back at Ebola stigma
TV presenter Shoana Clarke Solomon said her daughter was told in her school in New York: ‘You’re from Liberia, so you have a disease’
Ebola, which has so far claimed more than 4,500 lives in West Africa, is creating a stigma for the people of the region.
In response, Liberian-American TV host Shoana Clarke Solomon on Oct. 13 created a YouTube video titled “I am a Liberian, not a virus,” which has been widely circulated on social media.
I am a Liberian , not a virus. Pray for Liberia. ❤️ http://t.co/c9tZk9MRbe— Brittany Baker (@_brittanyb3) October 16, 2014
The video was Soloman’s response to her nine-year-old-daughter facing prejudice at her school in Staten Island, New York.
The presenter, who moved her daughter to New York in September, told British daily The Guardian that her daughter was told: “You’re from Liberia, so you have a disease.”
On the “I am a Liberian, not a virus” Facebook page, Liberians have posted their pictures with slogans expressing their humanity.
Soloman highlighted the irony that she was not subjected to any particular scrutiny upon arrival on U.S. soil.
She said her niece, who also lives in the United States, faced the same prejudice as her daughter, even though she had had no contact with anyone coming from Liberia for two years.
Her niece “was in school and sneezed a couple of times. They took her temperature and placed her alone in a room, called my sister and said, given the situation...” Soloman said.
The video has resonated with many people on social media. One Twitter user wrote: “So powerful! @ShoanaSolomon: I AM A LIBERIAN, NOT A VIRUS! Need respect, humanity and action to #EndEbola. #Ebola.”
A YouTube user commended Soloman for raising awareness of the stigma: “I saw your video on the local news here in NYC yesterday... your message is far-reaching!”
Medical experts are warning that the rate of infection could reach 10,000 a week by early December.
Ebola cases soar in western Sierra LeoneAuthorities say the uncontrolled movement of people from the interior to Waterloo has fueled the increase of Ebola cases in the west World News
Lebanon faces higher Ebola risk: ministerThe official stressed that Lebanon should be ‘exceptionally cautious’ because there are many expats living in infected countries Middle East
NBC medical editor faces credibility issues over EbolaUpon returning to U.S. soil, the staff member and her crew agreed to quarantine themselves – but were later spotted at a restaurant Television & Radio
Ebola on your wish list? Firm sells out entire Ebola plush toy stockIt may be the only time you will find these words in the same sentence: ‘Ebola’ and ‘Add to Wishlist’ Variety
Obama says Ebola travel ban could make things worseLawmakers this week urged Obama to bar people from Liberia, Sierra Leone and Guinea from entering the United States World News
David Beckham rallies support for the fight against Ebola‘We are in a race against time,’ the UNICEF Goodwill ambassador warns at the end of the video Entertainment