The Grand Rapids Asian Pacific Foundation (GRAPF) is using a new design to send a message of both distinction and unity. The group's newest fundraising T-shirt shows people of various ethnicities, ranging from areas across Asia and more, coming together. The words "thank you" in various languages lie across the bottom of the design.
"It defines what’s happening right now. It’s all different ethnicities on the T-shirt to be represented in the Asian community," Thao Tran, a member of GRAPF said, "When a lot of people think Asian, they kind of think Chinese but it’s not. It’s the largest continent in the world, right? And there’s so many different ethnicities in there, and that also kind of represents our organization."
Tran said GRAPF originally planned to use the shirts during its annual summer festival, as a way to raise funds for ongoing education and awareness about individual ethnicities and cultures. However, with ongoing rhetoric targeting Chinese individuals and the increase in hate crimes against Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders, GRAPF decided to debut them early, saying the shirt holds an important symbol of unity.
"It kind of shows that like not every Asian person is Chinese, but it also shows that we stand in solidarity with our Chinese brothers and sisters. If you’re targeting one of us you’re targeting all of us,” Tran said.
T-shirts are being sold for $20 and can be purchased by contacting the Grand Rapids Asian Pacific Foundation. Information about the group's Go Fund Me campaign can be found here.