As racism against Asians became a major concern in America Thursday after a mass killing in Georgia and controversial statements by elected officials in Washington, D.C., three billboards were debuting across Los Angeles to encourage people to #JustSayHello to people who are different from them as a small step to fight racism.

“It’s a small gesture that speaks volumes, and a step in the right direction to start healing our nation and begin real conversations about racial equality in this country,” said Kerman Maddox, founder of Just Say Hello.

The group acknowledged that the campaign won’t stop racism immediately, but said it will be a small step in the right direction. It added that the nation’s division is particularly underscored by the mass killing of eight people, including six Asian women, allegedly by a white man in the Atlanta area on Tuesday. Authorities have not yet determined whether race was a factor in those killings.

The billboards can be found in:

— Hollywood at Hollywood Boulevard and Normandie Avenue;

— Ladera Heights at La Cienega Boulevard and Centinela Avenue; and

— Exposition Park at Vermont Avenue and Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard.

People are urged to spread the word by using the hashtag #JustSayHelloChallenge and posting photos and videos on social media of their experience saying hello to people who don’t look like them.

The group also sells T-shirts, masks and stickers with the Just Say Hello message, which can be bought at

In addition to the AIDS Healthcare Foundation, the program is supported by funding from Amazon, USC, investment banker Jamie Montgomery and Councilman Mark Ridley-Thomas. It was endorsed by Councilwoman Monica Rodriguez, the UCLA Bedari Kindness Institute and the Southern Christian Leadership Conference.

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