To our GRAVITAS community,
This photo features my work family - the women and men in our NYC factory who have tirelessly worked to provide hospital gowns, face masks, and apparel for the frontline and our community since April 2020.
Over the past year, I've been saddened and angered by what my work family has experienced. Our head designer, Aruk, was verbally attacked on Manhattan's Upper West Side ("You brought the China virus here"). My seamstresses ride the subway to and from work and are given sideway glances, while people move away from them. And we are not alone. In 2020, anti-Asian American hate crimes in 16 of our most populous cities increased 150%, and most incidents aren't reported.
In every story that I read about an elderly Asian American being verbally or physically assaulted, I see the faces of my parents, my grandfather, my seamstresses. So we got to work and want to share two ways you can join us in making a difference:
Look for Good, See the Good - Learn more about the good work being done by members of our community and shine light on these contributions as a way to stamp out messages of hate. Allyship is a personal mindset that builds a habit of turning on the light to see what oppressive systems won't let us see and allows us to call others over to see the same. As a way to start, NBC's Vicky Nguyen has created a special report on the Asian American community and what lies ahead.
Choose Compassion - The word compassion has a dual meaning - "sympathetic consciousness of others' distress together with a desire to alleviate it". It's putting yourself in someone else's shoes and doing something to make it better. Making allyship tangible can be as simple as underscoring a helpful comment made in meeting that reinforces new norms. I've spent the last week with a group of Asian female founders learning about the microaggressions and discrimination they have faced. The step further? We've followed and re-posted each other on social media, and executed plans to support each other's busisnesses. We invite you to join us in supporting these incredible brands that create jobs and contribute to our communities as we feature them.
Our team has printed these two messages on face masks, for which 100% of proceeds will go to Stop AAPI Hate to track and respond to anti-Asian American hate crimes. We hope these messages will inspire us and others to look into someone's eyes and feel compassion.
Proactive action has the benefit of strengthening us - like a muscle, it gets stronger with use as we choose kindness over cruelty.
CEO & Founder, GRAVITAS