frog Voices
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frog Voices

Take Action to Stop Asian Hate

As calls for racial and social justice intensify, two frogs launched an initiative designed to help others Take Action.

By Eclair Junchaya and Raquel Kalil

Last summer, as protests for social and racial justice roared across the country, we reached out to some fellow frogs to discuss ways we could show up, step up and do more. Earlier in 2020 we had completed a program in which one of the core experience principles was “carrying it forward”; that message resonated with us and inspired us to empower others, even if only in small ways — after all, small steps toward justice are still steps in the right direction. A few female frogs from the SF studio felt the same, so we discussed ways to raise awareness and share resources about racial and social justice. We compiled a list of articles, actions and initiatives into a shared document, and Take Action (TA) was born.

For TA to be most effective, we believed that it should be bite-sized and presented to the largest possible audience, so we decided on introducing it in mini-presentations during our Monday Morning Meetings. To keep them focused and manageable, we worked from a 2-page deck template using fonts purchased on Vocal Type, a typography collective founded by designer Tré Seals, which is dedicated to increasing and supporting diversity in design.

For the first few months, we spent 3–4 minutes after general announcements presenting some of the articles, podcasts, videos, events, and services we had compiled in our initial TA document. This variety of resources and tools ensured that many different people could engage with the topic in a way that spoke to them. Whether we presented an organization doing meaningful work, the ideas of BIPOC leaders and thinkers, or a thought-provoking article or film, we wanted TA to amplify impact through the collective power of seeing, learning, discussing, and doing new things.

Whenever you feel empowered and moved, you can Take Action.

One of the core principles of TA is that whenever you feel empowered and moved, you can Take Action. It could be sharing an article that helped you see through the eyes of the underrepresented. It could be donating to an organization working on the ground for a more equitable tomorrow. It could be amplifying the inspiring message of racial and social justice advocates. It’s not about who’s doing the sharing, it’s about the shared goal we’re working toward. As TA took root in the SF studio, it became incredibly powerful to see how often these opportunities occur in communities that are actively committed to combatting racism together.

Eventually we archived enough of our weekly presentations to produce a shareable toolkit for anyone interested in trying TA themselves, allowing it to expand organically to other studios. As it grows, it has been beautiful to see how each person interprets and evolves TA to suit their own context and community. One common thread, however, has been that “taking action” requires some un-learning and re-centering of the self in order to deconstruct and critique the foundations of our disciplines. We feel that the growth of the program demonstrates the power of its essence and intent — individuals coming together to create change through continued commitment, active learning, and real action.

TA continues to evolve here in SF, too. Recently we’ve set the goal of helping to connect the various conversations, initiatives, and efforts that are happening across the global pond. For example, after frogNY shared information and materials about creating Conscious Conversations, frogs in SF adapted them for a workshop our own. We’ve also expanded TA categories to include sustainability (specifically, re-sharing the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals) and voting rights resources.

Most recently, we’ve used TA to provide a humanizing glimpse into the lives affected by anti-Asian racism and hate. The umbrella term “AAPI” often flattens the many different cultures and people it describes, but Keep Love Close, an article and photo-essay from the New York Times, helps illustrate the true diversity of experiences, lives, and cultures within the AAPI community. It challenges us to look beyond the statistics about rising anti-Asian violence, to see real people with real hopes, struggles, and dreams.

As we advocate to Stop Asian Hate together, we ask you to remember your friends, neighbors, and colleagues in the AAPI community. How will you take action for them? How will you spread love in a time of hate? If you aren’t sure where to start, you can begin by reading and educating yourself about the long history of anti-Asian racism in the United States. Since the beginning of the COVID-19 crisis, it’s become clear that too few Americans are familiar with this history. You could also donate to one of the many organizations helping to address the urgent COVID-19 outbreak in India, which has overwhelmed hospitals and left many millions of people without access to medical care.

We feel deeply fortunate to be surrounded by peers and leaders that support us for who we are and what we care about, that share our commitment to empowering those who might be too timid to say what must be said. Their ongoing engagement with TA demonstrates their understanding that justice requires commitment. We know that the road toward racial, social, and climate justice is long, but we feel confident that TA is helping to keep frogs proactive and prepared for the journey.

Together, we can do this — we are the change we’ve been waiting for.

Eclair Junchaya is a Senior Interaction Designer at frogSF, and she likes to laugh a lot. She deploys her versatile skillset across the entire design process — from researching and concepting to prototyping, building, and shipping digital products. Her multicultural background helps her connect with others and cultivate inclusion both through her work and within frog. She’s passionate about elevating others, always ensuring that those she designs with and for feel happy and heard.

Since she was very young, Raquel has always had an appetite for drawing and hearing stories, which inspired her to pursue a visual design practice. Her commitment to social and climate justice inspires design work that is inclusive and sustainably driven.
Her work has been recognized and featured by STA 100, The Dutch Institute of Food and Design, Food Inno Symposium, Primer Conference, Institute for the Future, Women of Graphic Design, and The California Academy of Sciences.

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