Jenny Nguyen, founder of design- and creative business-focused public relations collective Hello Human, has joined with Arati Rao, founder of New York-designed, India-produced contemporary rug and textile company Tantuvi, to launch an Instagram fundraiser/design giveaway in support of the Atlanta chapter of Asian Americans Advancing Justice. The legal advocacy nonprofit is providing direct financial aid to the families who lost loved ones in the shooting spree that unfolded at three Atlanta-area spas on March 16. The killings claimed eight victims, six of them Asian American women.
Coordinated by Nguyen and Rao with help from Jean Lee, cofounder of Brooklyn-based Ladies and Gentlemen Studio, #DesignForATL features design objects—lighting, decor, textiles, ceramics, furnishings, jewelry, accessories, and much more—as well as services donated by over 80 U.S. designers and design studios, many of which have been featured in AN and AN Interior.
Starting today, all giveaway products/services will appear on the respective Instagram accounts of each participating designer with the #DesignForATL hashtag, along with details about what it is they are donating and other pertinent information. Those who wish to support the cause simply need to make a donation to Advancing Justice Atlanta using a special code as specified on the corresponding Instagram post; each donation enters participants into a specific giveaway of their choosing. Donation amounts will vary depending on what the specific product/service giveaway is with many items available for donations of just $5 or $10.
To increase the chances of winning, there is no limit as to how many donations are made for most individual items; entrants, of course, can also make multiple donations for different donated objects and services.
The fundraising period will close at midnight EST on March 28. On March 30, the names of the giveaway entrants will be shared with the designers, who will then use an online tool to randomly select a winner. Each participating designer will announce the winner of their respective giveaway on Instagram.
Among the many participating designers are: Dusen Dusen, Pelle, Fort Standard, Grace Song Studio, Minh Singer, Poketo, Rosie Li Studio, Steven Bukowski, Brendan Ravenhill, Chen & Kai, Tortuga, Helen Levi, Slash Objects, Ash Chen, and Dash Marshall. Hello Human and Tantuvi are also offering products and services that can be won through donations to Advancing Justice Atlanta.
Nguyen explained the impetus for #DesginForATL in a statement:
“Arati Rao, Jean Lee, and I started working together in summer 2020, when both studios joined the Hello Human roster as founding clients. All of us being of East and South Asian descent, we have often talked with each other about our personal experiences dealing with racism in America and our mutual desire to support and lift the voices of BIPOC designers in our community. When the Atlanta attacks happened, we felt the need to bring the design community, many of whom also belong to the AAPI community, together to raise funds for the families of the victims — we have been so humbled by the huge amount of support we have received from a diverse range of participating designers in such a short amount of time. We are hoping that as a design community we can make a big financial impact for the victim’s families and show our solidarity with the AAPI community.”
While the armed attack in Atlanta has, as of writing, yet to be classified as a federal hate crime by authorities, many see anti-Asian racism as a clear motivating factor behind the rampage. Harassment of and attacks—both verbal and physical—against Asian Americans have surged over the past year with many laying blame on former President Trump and his racist coronavirus-related rhetoric. A recent report showed that hate crimes against people of Asian descent rose a staggering 150 percent in 2020 even though the overall number of hate crimes fell during the pandemic. In the few short days since the Atlanta shootings, numerous other attacks, some violent, have been reported.
It is suspected that many more attacks and instances of harassment and intimidation against the Asian-American community have occurred but gone unreported due to language barriers and other factors. Hate-fueled encounters that have been reported in the U.S. total nearly 3,800 between March 19, 2020, and Feb. 28, 2021, per a recent report released by the Stop AAPI Hate coalition.
The names of those who lost their lives in the March 16 mass shootings in Atlanta are Chung Park, Hyun Jung Grant, Suncha Kim, Yong Ae Yue, Delaina Ashley Yaun, Paul Andre Michels, Xiaojie Tan, and Daoyou Feng.
The #DesignForATL fundraiser will conclude on March 28 at midnight so keep an eye on that Instagram hashtag and follow the fundraising campaign’s official IG account to view all of the giveaway objects and services in once central place.