While media coverage of the Ebola crisis has simmered down in the United States, the virus is still prevalent elsewhere—a fact that’s emphasized in a new PSA for the Ebola Survival Fund featuring the cast of the Hunger Games films.
Mockingjay’s Beetee, actor Jeffrey Wright, took it upon himself to produce a PSA for the Ebola Survival Fund to focus on the outbreak in West Africa. Wright, who has been working to improve natural resource development in the Sierra Leone region for 13 years through his mining resource company, Taia Lion Resources, further became involved in efforts to combat the Ebola crisis in West Africa when a two-year old boy died from Ebola in December 2013 in a nearby village in Meliandou, Guinea, effectively becoming patient zero of the virus.
Wright recruited his fellow Hunger Games colleagues Jennifer Lawrence, Josh Hutcherson, Liam Hemsworth, Julianne Moore, Mahershala Ali, and Partners in Health founder Paul Farmer to create a PSA to showcase the fact that aid is still needed in West Africa. The PSA begins with the hysterical media coverage of Ebola in the United States, which Wright told EW very much “disturbed” him.
“We were so blind to the differences between the conditions (in the United States) and the conditions (in West Africa) that we thought that the virus could be equally potent here at home. I just found it intensely ignorant, not only of the realities in West Africa, but also enormously lacking in self-awareness about who we are, what we’re capable of, and what our privileged position in the world community means,” Wright said.
Wright derived some of the PSA’s concept from The Hunger Games.
“The Hunger Games allegory aligns with this Ebola outbreak in that we, the United States, the West, relative to this, is very much like the Capitol and Guinea, Liberia, Sierra Leone, are very much like the outer districts,” Wright said. ”I thought, well, let’s play with that idea as a way of highlighting the stark contrast between we, the Capitol, and they, the outer districts, and using some of the constructs from the movie as a way of shining additional light on some of the contrasts.”
Wright said that he hopes people can understand that while the Ebola coverage has cooled down in the United States, the virus still remains a crisis in West Africa.
“I hope that people can begin to understand the very specific ways that the outbreak was so hot in West Africa and so cool here,” Wright emphasized. “I hope they led to click on our website, where they could learn more about how they could get involved and help in meaningful ways to crush Ebola now at its source in West Africa, now and forever.”