Ebola panic has turned the world of many Americans with West African roots upside-down. Mainstream media has gleefully fanned the flames of panic, and panic has left to stigma, prejudice, and even bullying.

Liberian American Shoana Solomon found this out firsthand out when she sent her nine-year-old daughter to school in Wilmington, Delaware. As media stories about Ebola’s ooutbreak made its way into the mainstream media, her daughter found herself a target of jokes and sneers. “She was on the playground playing with one of her friends, skipping, holding hands on the playground and this girl tells her friend, ‘Don’t touch her, don’t touch her she has a disease,'” Solomon told Public Radio International. “She walks through the hallways and she hears the kids making Ebola jokes and talking about West Africans and whatnot.”

In response Shoana Solomon started a campaign called “I am a Liberian, not a virus,” to combat the stigma of Ebola with two other concerned women of Liberain descent. Solomon says her own daughter is coping with the stigma as best she can — “she just kind of ignores it and walks by” — but many children are crushed by the stigma. That’s why Solomon and three other Liberian women started an awareness campaign: “I am Liberian,” they proclaim. “Not a virus.”

The campaign hopes to combat fear and spread awareness.

  • Pedro

    Hashtags and tweets, that will help . . . /sarc

    • Hypatia Livingston

      Actually, hashtags and tweets do wonders for spreading awareness, which is the purpose of the campaign. 22% of Americans get their news from Twitter.

    • cacodoxy

      Something like that yea, I mean I get that these people are people but you can’t really deny if you are in a place that has it spreading (or the possibility to spread) like a wildfire. If I had caught it the last thing I would be thinking about is what people think of my political thoughts.

  • Angelice

    I actually think what she did was great. She is getting publicity for it! I find it sad to hear that her daughter has been picked on, though. If I ever found out my child was bullying another kid, I would be asbolutely livid!

    • Pedro

      Bullying is one thing. Hemorrhagic fevers have nothing to care about being a bully or what the outcome is.

  • Ratcraft

    So is she an American or a Liberian? Could she be an African-American-Liberian? Is this for real, are we bearing witness to the first double hyphenated American? HISTORIC!

    • Hypatia Livingston

      You do understand that the term “African American” refers to Africa, as a continent. So she is both an African-American, and then b/c Liberia is a country, she is also a Liberian-American. Or an American of Liberian descent.

      Why do you think it’s a joke? You don’t think there are real people form Liberia in America? Wow

  • Bendal

    Who cares what her country of origin is? She obviously lives here and if she hasn’t traveled there recently, she has about as much chance of being exposed to it as I do.

  • Jasmine35

    It shouldn’t matter that she is Liberian, it doesn’t mean that she will spread this disease. Our ancestors all came from somewhere else at some point in time. This disease can affect anyone, it has nothing to do with nationality. Good for her for sticking up for what she believes in.