For months, it’s been hard to watch the news. Every time an elderly Asian person is violently shoved or beaten on the sidewalk, I worry that my mother—a Chinese woman in her 60s—might be next, and I feel helpless. But as I try to distract myself by scrolling through Instagram, I’ve unexpectedly found comfort following fashion designer Phillip Lim, who has spent the last few months advocating relentlessly for the Asian community.
Fifteen years ago, he launched his label, 3.1 Phillip Lim, and in the years since, he’s garnered many awards from the Council of Fashion Designers of America. But over the last few weeks, as violence against Asian Americans has spiked, he’s snapped into action, taking on the role of activist and community organizer.
He has flooded his Instagram account with resources for his 82,000 followers; gone on CNN to entreat people to stand with Asian Americans; and launched a GoFundMe campaign that raised $2 million for the Asian American and Pacific Islander community. And in the wake of the horrific murders in Atlanta last week, he quickly organized a two-hour Zoom event to talk about building community in the face of white supremacy. “There is a lot to lose when speaking up,” he says. “But at this moment, I don’t see any other option.”