The House of Slay is continuing its mission to support the Asian American Pacific Islander community through a new collaboration.
The organization, which was formed last year by fashion designers Phillip Lim, Prabal Gurung and Laura Kim, and influencers Ezra Williams and Tina Leung to combat anti-Asian hate, is teaming up with the AAPI Victory Fund for AAPI Heritage Month on an initiative that mobilizes AAPI voters to the ballot box for the upcoming midterm election. The AAPI Victory Fund works to educate and support AAPI voters, as well as rally behind AAPI elected officials and candidates.
“While we’re seeing historic levels of engagement from young people protesting and coming together around stop Asian hate, we know that as an [AAPI] community, we tend to vote the least of all communities,” said Brad Jenkins, president and chief executive officer of the AAPI Victory Fund. “We wanted to make sure that we were harnessing all of this beautiful leadership and tap into it to show that power at the ballot box this cycle.”
House of Slay will link with the AAPI Victory Fund for a merchandise collection of T-shirts, sweaters and bags with proceeds benefiting the organization. The merchandise collection will be available on House of Slay’s website starting May 27.
“It’s coming together as a community to hold hands and encourage each other to vocalize, speak up and ultimately to vote because without voting, nothing really changes,” Lim said. “There’s so many of us in different generations that are so disenfranchised with the system, but if we just leave it at that, then nothing will change. It’s important for us to give the benefit of the doubt and come together in our different respective platforms and use that to really organize and be loud and be proud and get out the vote.”
While House of Slay came together in response to the rise in anti-Asian hate and crimes that increased during the pandemic, the broader aim is to create a community and support system for AAPI individuals.
“When I look at the similarities between all of us, we are all in some ways minorities,” Gurung said about House of Slay. “We are not the people making decisions and we know how it feels to be invisible and absolutely discarded or ignored. We tried to bring everyone together because if we don’t show up, we have no right to ask for change or think we are owed justice. We have to show up. No longer are we in this world where we can just be practicing slacktivism — like posting stuff on the internet and be done with it. You have to show up. The future is at stake. Not just our rights as minority rights, but everything around that that we all care about.”
One of House of Slay’s first initiatives came last November when the organization released a digital comic book of the same name, which reimagined the founders as superheroes on a journey to tackle anti-Asian sentiment and build a community. The comic series was meant as an inclusive and diverse medium for the AAPI community who rarely see themselves portrayed in media. Lim and Gurung said a second edition of the series is in the works.
“It’s us looking in the mirror being, like, ‘Yeah, you can be your own superhero by taking action and voting,’” Lim said about the comic book series. “We try to put it in a format that’s fun and whether people laugh or take it seriously or whatnot, it’s really having an impact on culture. It was one of our main goals to reposition our community as culture instigators instead of consumers. We make culture and we’re at the center of culture. Therefore, we are part of the conversation for change.”
Going forward, Lim, Gurung and the rest of the House of Slay members will continue supporting and championing the AAPI community through various initiatives and creative platforms.
“What we’re trying to create besides a really important message and galvanizing of community, is celebrating joy,” Gurung said. “Because, joy leads to optimism and hope.”
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