How ‘Community’ Alum Ken Jeong Gave Back to Atlanta Shooting Victims

Celebrities are often accused of being out of touch. Their wealth affords them luxuries that many of their fans can only dream about having. Their work — while certainly brings its own challenges — often leaves them inhabiting fictional worlds for months on end. The very nature of their celebrity status wraps around them like a bubble that can leave them disconnected from the struggles of the world. 

Some celebrities, however, make a conscious choice to use their platform not to escape the tragedies of the larger world but to draw awareness to them. Many celebrities take it upon themselves to become spokespeople for causes that matter to them, and many put their money where their mouths are — donating to make a difference. 

Following the tragic string of shootings that left many Asian-Americans victims in Atlanta, Ken Jeong stepped up to donate to help survivors and victims’ families. 

Ken Jeong attends The Women's Cancer Research Fund's An Unforgettable Evening Benefit Gala at the Beverly Wilshire Four Seasons Hotel on February 28, 2019 in Beverly Hills, California.
Ken Jeong | Axelle/Bauer-Griffin/FilmMagic

Ken Jeong is best known for ‘Community’ 

Jeong was on a different track entirely. He attended medical school at North Carolina Chapel Hill School of Medicine and then completed a residency at Ochsner Medical Center.

He even completed licensing requirements to practice medicine in California, but he was also working on his stand-up comedy routine at the same time. Eventually, he stepped away from medicine to follow his passion for acting instead. 

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His character in The Hangover served as something of a breakout role, and since then, his filmography has gotten increasingly more impressive. The same year The Hangover premiered, Jeong stepped into what has become a defining role of his career.

He played the part of Ben Chang in the sitcom Community. As the overbearing Spanish teacher, Jeong’s brand of irreverent and often physically demanding comedy set him apart. He would go on to appear in dozens of movies and television roles, each highlighting his comedic genius. 

Atlanta was rocked by shooting spree targeting spas

RELATED: BTS Release a Statement Condemning Hate Against Asians

Discrimination against Asians and Asian-Americans has long been a dark part of American history, but the past year has brought it forward in starker and more deadly ways. As the COVID-19 pandemic has ravaged the globe, many Asians and Asian-Americans have been targeted in terrible hate crimes

In mid-March, a string of shootings in Atlanta, Georgia demonstrated just how horrific this anti-Asian sentiment could be. As CNN reports: “While investigators haven’t offered a firm explanation for a motive behind the mass shootings, according to legal advocates, it’s plainly evident the shootings were motivated by race and gender, both categories for a hate crime under Georgia state law.”

Robert Aaron Long has been charged with murder after opening fire on three separate spas and killing eight people — many Asian women, who appeared to be the target. 

Ken Jeong donated to the victims of the Atlanta shooting

In the aftermath of the shooting and other crimes and comments targeting Asians and Asian-Americans, many celebrities got involved in the #StopAsianHate movement. Picking up momentum through social media, the movement aimed to showcase bias and call on people to step in and stop the discrimination when they see it happening. 

Following the shooting, Ken Jeong’s social media lit up with links to fundraisers for the victims’ families. As NBC Los Angeles reports, he also stepped up with donations of his own. Giving $10,000 each for five victims, Jeong provided funds for Soon Chung Park, Hyun Jung Grant, Suncha Kim, Xiaojie Tan, and Yong Yue. 

Jeong also signal-boosted calls for activism by sharing “a video to his account calling for an end to anti-Asian racism in the aftermath of the shooting, featuring other Asian American actors such as Keiko Agena and Lou Diamond Phillips.”