On March 16, a shooter killed eight people in Atlanta, a majority of whom were Asian women. It's a sad truth that hate crimes against Asians and Asian Americans are spiking across the United States. Every day it seems another Asian American is the victim of an apparent hate crime, with Asian women making up a higher share of reported hate crimes than Asian men. Major U.S. cities saw a 150-percent increase in hate crimes against Asian Americans, according to California State University’s Center for the Study of Hate and Extremism. In just the first three months of 2021, Los Angeles has seen a 114 percent increase in anti-Asian American hate crimes.
These spikes in anti-Asian sentiment in the United States have been trending since the beginning of the coronavirus pandemic. Last year, the New York Police Department reported a 1,900 percent increase in hate crimes against Asian Americans in New York City. Behind those numbers are actual people who have been attacked or, in worst case scenarios, have been killed — like Vicha Ratanapakdee, who was randomly pushed to death in San Francisco.
But what's a publication that writes about gear doing talking about this, you might ask? Well, members of the AAPI (Asian American and Pacific Islander) community are behind many of the products we write about. Not only that, but the community also makes up our readers, the people we work with and our own staff.
The 20 products highlighted here barely scratch the surface on how you can support the Asian American and Pacific Islander community (though there's more information here, here and here), but the proceeds from their sales will go to support AAPI organizations and communities.
Pearl River Mart is essentially the world's first Chinese American department store. It stocks all kinds of trinkets and knickknacks, including food. This mug features a double fish logo, which some may consider a lucky symbol.
Made in Chinatown is a new initiative that works with Manhattan Chinatown businesses to create branded merch and apparel, with 100 percent of the profits going back to the businesses. Cha Chan Tang, a Hong Kong-style diner, specializes in food like the pineapple bun in this print.
Masks have become a way to make a statement without actually having to say anything. Profits from this mask go towards the non-profit organization Hate Is a Virus, which hopes to dismantle racism.
Can't make it to Sun's Organic Garden in New York City's Chinatown? This mug will give you the perfect tea-to-water ratios and the optimal brewing times for different styles of tea. Plus, you'll be supporting a local business struggling due to the pandemic.
The Museum of Chinese in America (MOCA) is a New York City institution dedicated to preserving Chinese American history and culture. Proceeds from the umbrella are invested back into the city's Chinatown, and 10 percent of that goes to charities that support the community.
Female Asian-American designer Christina J. Wang is behind the brand CJW, which has been making masks since the onset of the pandemic. For every purchase of a CJW mask, the brand will donate one to Chinatown Health Clinic Foundation.
Photographer Sirui Ma released a follow-up to her first zine, "New York Street Style" with a sequel filled with images of elderly Asian Americans photographed between 2016 and 2020.
"I always found NYC’s elderly people so effortlessly stylish," Ma says in the product description. "The zine was a collection of iPhone photos I took of their getups. It’s my love letter to them." All profits from the zine will go to Asian Americans Advancing Justice.
Half of the profits from the sales of two colorways — To Pó-Po with Love (a tan color) and Reimagine Justice (a green color) — of Material's much-loved cutting board will go toward Heart of Dinner, which helps elderly Asian Americans in New York City get a hot meal and fresh food, and Drive Change, which helps previously incarcerated young people get professional development.
With Umamicart, I might actually never have to leave home.
Music producer and DJ Steve Aoki's clothing brand Dim Mak worked with abstract pop artist Pretty Done for a Stop Asian Hate tee, with proceeds going to Stop AAPI Hate. "I am a proud Asian American and it breaks my heart to witness the prejudice and violence directed toward the AAPI community," Aoki says in the product description.
Wing on Wo & Co. is the oldest store in Chinatown, and it's been selling porcelain products since 1925. An illustrated snapshot of what the store's shelves look like is featured on this pillow.
Meena Harris, niece of Vice President Kamala Harris, founded Phenomenal to uplift women by raising money through apparel. Her Phenomenally Asian t-shirt is helping to raise money for the National Asian Pacific American Women's Forum. This tee is unisex and has been sported by the likes of Lisa Ling, Jeremy Lin and more.
Alexandre Gauchier, a small woman-owned business, is helping the AAPI community through sales of its Let's Respect crewneck sweatshirt. The back of the top reads “Let’s respect people of all ages, genders, races, sexualities, ethnicities, and religions. Thank you," and 15 percent of proceeds will be donated to the ACLU.
New York-based clothing store Alumni released a capsule collection for the Lunar New Year, and all proceeds from the collection — two short-sleeve tees and two long-sleeve tees — go to Chinese-American Planning Council, the nation's largest Asian-American non-profit organization.
As part of Vans' Foot the Bill campaign, in which the shoe company parters with small businesses to create custom shoes and tees, Nom Wah Tea Parlor, the oldest restaurant in Manhattan's Chinatown, brought its logo to Vans' popular Old Skool sneakers. All net proceeds go back to Nom Wah, and there's a matching shirt ($30), too.
Black people have been overlooked for far too long in the home and design industry.