Breathe No Evil



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Breathe No Evil


Breathe No Evil is a COVID-19 themed program of the No Evil Project, a nonprofit named after The Three Wise Monkeys: See No Evil, Hear No Evil, and Speak No Evil, that uses art and humor to challenge stereotypes and help people find commonality despite their differences.

With the coronavirus and COVID-19, stereotypes were perpetuated and new ones emerged. As the virus originated in China, people of Asian descent were feared or targeted. Emergency responders, healthcare professionals, and those who have recovered from COVID-19 were also stereotyped. While effective in slowing the spread of the virus and encouraged by the CDC, many people in the United States felt uncomfortable wearing them or seeing people wearing them. Due to racial profiling, some people of color had additional concerns about wearing face coverings in public or when entering businesses.

The project wanted to address these concerns, but because of social distancing, could no longer use their traditional method of photographing large groups of people at festivals, organizations, colleges, and schools. So Breathe No Evil was designed to let people participate easily on their own. Participants were encouraged to take a selfie sharing the same simple good deed of wearing a face covering to protect others in their community. They also picked three labels to show that the pandemic affects everyone in some way, and that we could all come together help slow the spread despite our differences. Their additional good deed could be anything they've done in their life, or something specific to what they were doing during the pandemic.

Participation gives people who may be feeling helpless or isolated due to the pandemic a voice to tell their story as well as an outlet to be creative if they wish, and to be part of something bigger in the community.  Seeing all of these individuals participating in the same creative exercise and wearing face masks shows how the community coming together to support and protect each other, while encouraging and normalizing public health guidelines leading to a faster recovery from COVID-19.


No Evil Project - Troy B. Thompson


No Evil Project




Troy B. Thompson





troy, “Breathe No Evil,” COVID-19 Chronicles: Worcester's Community Archive, accessed April 21, 2024,