On Wednesday, March 17, the Associated Press reported a white gunman, Robert Long, 21, was charged with the murder of eight people—most of them women of Asian descent—at three Atlanta-area massage parlours Tuesday evening. Six of the victims were identified as Asian and seven were women. The shootings appear to be at the “intersection of gender-based violence, misogyny and xenophobia,” state Rep. Bee Nguyen told the AP in a statement, the first Vietnamese American to serve in the Georgia House and a frequent advocate for women and communities of colour.
While the rise in violence against people of Asian descent in this country has gotten exponentially worse, to credit the very visible uptick in xenophobia to Donald Trump’s racist terms to describe the spread of the coronavirus is to ignore the racism embedded in the fibres of our American flag. We, as a country, have a lot of unlearning to do. It isn’t fair or even enough for the Asian community to shoulder the burden alone.
GRAZIA reached out to designers, stylists, and influencers within the AAPI community to give space to grieve, but also imagine what a true, safe space looks and feels like.
Build A Greater Sense Of Community, But Not Only When It’s Convenient
“Beyond the media outrage of these recent attacks on Asians, support would feel like having productive and honest conversations about the deeply engrained stereotypes against Asians. A lot of microaggressions towards Asians are rooted in white supremacy and these little issues may seem small but they’re a way for the system to oppress and invalidate Asian voices. There are a lot of nuisances in the conversation and I think it’s important to recognise we’ve gotten this far because of other communities of colour speaking out and that this is not the time to create a greater chasm. So tldr; support looks like honest conversations about how we may have failed to support each other and how to move forward so that we don’t fail anymore, it’s about being self aware and observing how you talk about Asian people and the biased assumptions you may have and listening to people when they say that they’re hurting.
I think that there are a lot of talented Asian creatives within the fashion industry and now is the time to listen to their perspectives and let them tell their stories. Luxury brands capitalise on Lunar New Year, but are failing to use their resources to support the Asian community right now. I think a lot of times it’s about: don’t use the AAPI community only when it’s convenient for fashion.
I love are Red Canary Song, Butterly Asian and Migrant Sex Workers Support Network, Heart of Dinner, and Send Chinatown Love. I believe that directly working on your community is the best way to create change and make the movement last beyond the news cycle.” Michelle Li, stylist and model
Good Allyship Starts With Listening
“Right now support looks like amplification and action. It is crucial that the stories of these hate crimes and acts of racism against our community are seen and properly reported on by the media. Listen to our stories, educate yourself on the history of anti-Asian racism and xenophobia in this country, and check in on our unconscious bias. Make sure to check on your friends and family in the AAPI community, ask them how they are coping and if there is anything you can do to help. There are also a number of organisations you can donate to such as the #StopAsianHate Gofund Me, Hate Is A Virus, Gold House, and more.” Prabal Gurung, designer
Help Create Economic Freedom
“The solution can start with providing resources for small independent brands, make sure brands are paying their vendors. When inspired by Asian culture, give those countries credit instead of appropriating them. Give back to organisations that are focused on fighting anti-Asian hate crimes.” Ji Oh, designer
Don’t Be Afraid To Do The Inner Work
“Support for the Asian community starts with us as individuals. It’s important for us to check in with ourselves to acknowledge our own implicit biases, to identify how we perpetuate or tolerate racism and how we allow our friends and family to do so as well. White supremacist rhetoric and behaviour is pervasive in American culture and it’s casual use has a dehumanising effect that allows for the normalisation of this kind of violence. Two organisations that I would love to see uplifted are the Atlanta chapter of the National Asian Pacific American Women’s Forum which directly advocates for and supports immigrant Asian women’s worker and reproductive rights in Georgia and Red Canary Song, a grassroots collective advocating for labor rights, respect and dignified livelihoods for Asian and migrant sex workers.” Rachael Wang, stylist and consultant
Stand In True Solidarity
“Talking about Asian racism has been difficult and often scary for those speaking up. Support and empathy for those raising their voices right now is the most important thing anyone can do to offer support. In addition there are ways they can personally use their voice and dollars. Here are 4 steps to supporting this cause right now:
- Stand alongside us and amplify our voices – This is so crucial for those that feel like they’re screaming into the void or worst yet, attacked for their pain. Too often the discourse has told us we were over exaggerating our concerns and in doing so, we’ve silenced ourselves.
- Support your local Asian-owned businesses, especially the ones who don’t have a social media presence. The businesses who aren’t on Facebook, Instagram, etc. are likely owned by individuals who don’t have the resources or English language skills to promote themselves and because of that, they need your help more than ever. Whether it’s a restaurant, deli, laundromat, tailor, salon, bakery, etc. they’ve been unfairly affected economically because of the xenophobic rhetoric that’s all too far common.
- Donate – If you can, please consider a donation to #StopAsianHate, which is redistributing funds to Asian American community-based organisations and also those who have been directly affected by the violence.
- Stand-up and join us – If there’s a rally near you and you are comfortable going, please join, we cannot do it alone and we appreciate your support.” Diana Tsui, Editorial Director, Recommendations at The Infatuation
Show Compassionate And Empathy
“For me personally, I feel supported by those speaking up against the recent violent acts of racism in daily life, whether on social media or in person as you see it happen. It’s important to be clear to your circle that this is an issue that warrants attention and action. I believe empathy comes from understanding and I hope that people can listen to and amplify Asian-American and BIPOC voices particularly now. Just like any other group, Asian-Americans make up a diverse community with differing opinions, beliefs, backgrounds, and experiences, and are not a monolithic entity with a singular opinion. Sensitivity and support looks and feels different for everyone, but authenticity and genuine concern, I think, is always welcome.
SVNR is donating proceeds to SendChinatown Love and Stop AAPI Hate and I encourage people interested in supporting the community to look into these organisations and so many others. For thought-provoking discourse and perspectives regarding AAPI identity, I suggest following instagram accounts @heavydiscussion, @nextshark, @intersectional.abc. Read, watch, listen to important AAPI stories from Eddie Huang, Lulu Wang, Lee Isaac Chung, Chloé Zhao, C Pam Zhang and so many more.” Christina Tung, business owner of House Of and SVNR.