In the United States, there has been a staggering increase in violence against the Asian American Pacific Islander (AAPI) community. The first quarter of 2021 saw a more than 164% uptick in anti-Asian hate crime reports in 16 major U.S. cities, when compared to the same time in 2020. The violence that the community has experienced is not new, but many are calling for all people to recognize the plight of the AAPI community. An ad that ran in the May 8, 2021, edition of The New York Times encouraging folks to take the AAPI Visibility Pledge. It features powerful words that are accompanied by a beautiful illustration created by Shepard Fairey.
The advertisement was made possible by Rise, a first-of-its-kind social movement accelerator; RUN AAPI, a nonprofit dedicated to empowering Asian Americans in culture and politics; and Amplifier, a nonprofit design lab.
The portrait is produced in Fairey’s iconic style that first permeated the cultural zeitgeist during the 2008 presidential campaign for then-Senator Barack Obama. His new illustration is of Rise’s founder Amanda Nguyen as she looks at the viewer with the scales of justice at the center of a lotus flower emblazoned on her shoulder. Behind her, there is the imagery of two Washington, D.C. landmarks—the U.S. Capitol and the Washington Monument.
Below Nguyen’s picture reads a message that calls on us all to denounce hate crimes and uplift the Asian American and Pacific Islander community: “We are front-line workers, doctors, teachers, public servants, neighbors. We've built this country's railroads, fed its people, cared for patients, and created some of its most innovative technology. From our excellence to our struggles—our stories are your stories—woven into the fabric of the American dream. Yet much of America has turned a blind eye to our legacy. This country-wide erasure culminates in anti-Asian violence that existed long before the COVID-19 pandemic. Now, more than ever, the Asian American Pacific Islander community needs to be seen.”
Visit the AAPI Visibility Pledge website to give your commitment to the AAPI community.