Most folks go through life without ever being asked “where are you really from”, but people from a minority ethnic background or mixed racial heritage are frequently subjected to the intrusive question. Here in North America this is an all to common problem, especially for people from Asian backgrounds.
Following the steep rise in anti-Asian hate crimes, particularly after the Covid-19 pandemic, the Asian American Federation partnered with ten Asian and Asian-American artists and storytellers to spotlight hopeful stories surrounding ideas of “belonging” through the experiences of the selected Asian-American creatives.
For its Hope Against Hate initiative, the AAF wanted to raise money in support of its community programs – which includes safety and training programs in New York City – by addressing that annoying question. Using the format of travel posters, the AAF shows where Asian Americans are actually from. On first view, they appear to be vinatge posters for vacation destinations. But at a closer look, they show themselves as posters for New York City, Houston, Seattle, St. Louis, and San Diego.
The campaign’s goal is to celebrate the relationships each storyteller has with the place they call home. These stories then acted as the inspiration for ten well-known Asian and Asian-American artists to create a collection of travel posters that feature the cities and neighbourhoods the storytellers hail from. The illustrators are Bianca Austria, Jun Cen, Dani Choi, Sophie Diao, Lisk Feng, Kezia Gabriella, Debroah Lee, Lydia Ortiz, Gica Tam, and Jiaqi Wang.
The posters are exclusively available through a donation to Hope Against Hate, and the stories will run throughout social media, digital asset creations, and virtual and live events where the AAF hopes to inspire the community and its allies with stories of belonging. The AAF is encouraging people to learn more about the current anti-Asian crisis, how to fight back, and to share their own stories on the I’m Really From page here.