In celebration of Asian American Pacific Islander Heritage Month, we are highlighting everyday people who are doing what they can to support the AAPI community. We, at Slide 32, saw so much good being done within our own communities, so we asked some of our friends about the work they are doing to combat anti-Asian hate crimes as proud Asian Americans. It only takes one person to take action and make a difference, so join us in applauding the good work that's being done.
In this blog, meet Jennifer Wang, founder of dismodel, an apparel line created to raise funds for nonprofit organizations that advance social justice for the AAPI community.
What’s your full name?
What’s your day job?
Traveler and foster dog mom
What inspired you to start dismodel?
The recent explosion of hate incidents against the AAPI community (especially the elderly) had me feeling heartbroken, frustrated, and enraged. I felt helpless but knew I had to do something. I decided to channel that energy into something productive and thus, dismodel was born.
What do you hope to achieve or see through dismodel?
To raise awareness that Asians aren't quiet and submissive like we've been stereotyped. We aren't going to keep our heads down and accept the abuse and racism any longer. We are proud of our heritage and belong here just as much as anyone else.
Who/what organization are you supporting through this initiative? What do they do?
1) Stop AAPI Hate - a reporting center that tracks and responds to incidents of hate, violence, harassment, discrimination, shunning and child bullying against Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders in the United States.
2) Asian Americans Advancing Justice (AAJC) - advocates for an America in which all Americans can benefit equally from, and contribute to, the American dream. Their mission is to advance the civil and human rights of Asian Americans and to build and promote a fair and equitable society for all.
3) Red Canary Song - the only grassroots Chinese massage parlor worker coalition in the U.S. There are over 9000 workplaces like these across the country with no political representation or access to labor rights or collective organizing. Anti-trafficking NGOs that claim to speak for migrants in sex trades promote increased policing and immigration control, which harms rather than helps migrant sex workers.
What’s the most amazing thing you’ve seen since starting dismodel?
Seeing firsthand that we, Asians, aren't alone in this. We have a beautiful group of allies that are invested in eradicating hate just as much as we are.
Anyone you want to give a shout out to for helping you get Dismodel up and running?
My shopaholic friend, Ian, for all the design feedback and suggestions.
If you had something to tell the non-Asian community about the AAPI community, what would you say?
Asians are not a monolithic culture. We are not the model minority. Yes, some are high achieving and successful, but many are struggling and impoverished as well; not acknowledging those that are anything but successful is damaging. We shouldn't be considered "White adjacent" either. Any sort of classification is a huge disservice to the Asian race.
Now for some fun questions:
Who is your favorite AAPI celebrity and why?
Jeremy Lin is a real class act that is humble and vulnerable. He embodies hard work and good sportsmanship. And he's Taiwanese American!
What's your favorite Asian (inspired) food or snack?
Durian and anything black sesame. Every morning, I make a matcha black sesame latte: 10 oz oat milk, 1.5 scoops Vital Proteins matcha collagen, 1.5 scoops black sesame powder, 1 date, 1/3c frozen spinach.
Follow dismodel: @dismodelapparel on IG or FB: