Standing in solidarity with the Asian community

May 5th, 2021
"stop asian hate" graffiti

On the afternoon of March 16, 2021, the alerts started and so did the dread. Shock that a mass shooting happened again. Sadness for the families and the victims. And a big wave of concern. As we now know, the shooting in Atlanta left 8 dead including 6 Asian women. The impact of this news was felt by the whole team at Zenfolio. 

While Atlanta felt far away, attacks against the Asian community are happening across the country. The news is peppered with stories and videos of Asian American’s being pummeled, verbally abused, knocked down, or threatened. Racist views, once something your odd uncle only whispered about in the privacy of his home, are now given license to come out of hiding.

Along with the unease is a sense of hope with the new Anti-Asian Hate Crime bill that passed the Senate last week with a vote of 94-1. The bill would put laws in place to punish these attacks and ideally deter them in the future. The bill is one step toward achieving the vision of  inclusivity and mutual respect that many of us grew up believing in. 

The fact that minorities are targeted as they are living their lives and going about their work is tragic and unacceptable. In photography, diversity makes the art compelling, engaging, beautiful. In a society,  diversity makes life more compelling, engaging, beautiful.

It’s all too common to feel numbed by the hate, and impotent to create a shift in that dynamic. Along with the bill, which still has to pass the House and be signed, what can we do to help each other? To support one another? To stop the hate and act in ways that reject white supremacy, racism, violence and hate mongering? Although most of us are still physically apart in our work from home locations, there are things we can do. 

In thinking about the variety of situations that photographers and their clients may find themselves in there may be simple ways to support each other–particularly if you feel uncomfortable or vulnerable. If you are a photographer, is there someone who can join you as an “assistant” on a shoot with a new client, or join you at an architectural shoot in an empty building?  Do you have someone you can share the location of where you will be shooting? 

Even if you’re not a photographer, there are simple things which we can do to be there for our friends and neighbors: 

  • Ask if they want to be escorted during their visit to the grocery store.
  • Ask if they want your phone number as a backup in times of crisis.
  • Ask how to help in ways that have meaning for them.

Ideally, we should live in a society that doesn’t need these safety net types of tools– or the bill just passed by the Senate. Everyone should feel comfortable walking to work, photographing a client, or scouting a location. While we work toward that ideal and hope for the day we can take personal safety for granted, I think about the people-connections that can help us now. 

I hope we can find a path forward as a community of photographers, and as a larger community  in support of our Asian neighbors and colleagues, and all those that face threat, fear or intimidation.  #stopasianhate

Sincerely,
John Loughlin
CEO, Zenfolio

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