"WE STAND AS ONE" Favorite 



Apr 14 2021



The New York-based artist has created a free-to-download poster in support of the ESEA community. Produced in response to the Covid-related surge in anti-Asian hate crimes, it can be used in a variety of ways to raise awareness and support the cause.

Since the beginning of the pandemic, anti-Asian hate crimes have skyrocketed. The violence is accompanied by hateful language, slurs and condemnations weaponised in the name of bigotry, ready to explode in the mouths of strangers. As Asians cautiously step out from the safety of their own homes, there is a persistent background fear that the language used to colonise us will prove more violent still and will attack at any moment.

However, was it ever intended otherwise? This is not a new story. This text, comic and poster are, as Audre Lorde said, an expression of “no new ideas. There are only new ways of making them felt.”

When Jyni Ong think of Oceon Vuong’s take on language as an act of kindness, she is reminded of how diasporic stories are passed down. The sacrifices made by immigrant parents so their children can hone accentless, unbroken English. She thinks of tales of distant lands once called home and journeys made from East to West. For their elders, language was currency, a permanent bridge to home and a means of grounding Western-raised children to it.

There are countless stories of how language is used as a vehicle for racist rhetoric in the Asian immigrant experience. Each one is as heartbreaking as the next, but the ones she find most difficult to stomach are the accounts from our elders who were forced to swallow their pain, because they did not have English in their arsenal to respond. This language became her mother tongue, but unlike those before her she can use it to fight back. And as the clinical psychologist Jenny Wang suggests: “Let’s channel the rage of our elders and wield language as an agent of change. Our voices matter even more now. Our voices must sustain this movement in order for the tide to turn.”

With this in mind, Jyni Ong and the New York-based illustrator Vanilla Chi have created a comic and poster in support of the ESEA community. It is created as an act of defiance against racism and made in honour of the people who endured, so we could flourish and find a collective voice.

Posted by Yuchen Zhang on

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