Tag Archives: Human Rights/Civil Liberties

Phillip Lim on Asian-American Activism in Fashion | Instant News

DURING SUMMER From a closing pandemic, fashion designer Phillip Lim moved his studio from anodyne Brookfield Place in lower Manhattan to the center of bustling Chinatown. For him, this was the right thing to do at a time when China’s historic environment was rocked by racism, violence and economic depression. Mr. Lim, whose Chinese family survived the Cambodian genocide and landed in Southern California when he was a child, wanted to be present in a community he said “felt at home.” Now she walks down Baxter Street every day, checks in with shop owners and eats chicken pho in Nha Trang One and pork in Bo Ky. He talks about the traditional goldsmiths at the New Top Jewelery shop. Speaking from his home near Soho, Mr Lim said, “Creativity still comes from here. Beauty is still born from here. “

It was a natural move for a respected designer who is increasingly recognized as an organizing force in the Asian-American community and beyond. “If you look at the last 20 posts on my Instagram, it looks like I’m an activist,” he said. “Looks like it has nothing to do with fashion anymore.”

Mr Lim as a child (left) with his parents Hannah and Pary Lim at his cousin’s wedding.

Mr. Lim has been raising awareness about anti-Asian racism and xenophobia for more than a year. He first appeared on CNN to sound the alarm in February 2020 after being rocked by news that an elderly man in San Francisco was attacked while collecting cans. He returned to speaking on the network a year later, as violence against Asian-Americans continued to escalate. Then came this week the murder of eight people including six women of Asian descent in the Atlanta area, whose investigations are still ongoing. Mr. Lim described the news that rippled through “three different group chats about Asian excellence: ‘Asian Avengers’, ‘Slaysians’ and ‘Go Fund Good Stuff'” as “a blow to the gut.” “You can feel a collective sense of loss,” he said. “And we just got up and this means more than ever, this [activism] more important than our daily work. “

Just this week, Mr. Lim hosts and speaks at a virtual event called “Doing Something About It: Conversations about Our Culture, Community and Collective Strengths”. The Asian American and Pacific Islander Community Fund, which he co-founded with Go Fund’s head of marketing Me Musa Tariq, raised over $ 2 million in donations. The fund, which raises money and supports the grassroots organization AAPI, was developed over two weeks after organizers finished work. Because Go Fund Me is based in California, for Mr. Lim means coming in at 9pm to do the hard work of setting up a charity venture.

“Stop Asian Hatred” keychains from ‘New York, Tougher than Ever.’


Alex Bohn

Often, those late evenings were followed by early morning gear for his line, 3.1 Phillip Lim. The name of the company, which he launched in 2005 with his friend and business partner Wen Zhou, shows the age of the two founders when they started: 31. The brand occupies a great place in American fashion: affordable yet low-key luxury; interesting but not very designed. Mr. Lim has won awards from the Council of Fashion Designers of America (CFDA) for women’s wear, men’s wear and accessories. Her most recent fall collection is typical of her approach to high-end sportswear: The finish is a combination of squishy, ​​downy stitches and a sleek light blue cardigan.

Having found his plot creatively, over the years Mr. Lim remains on track and focused on growing his business. She explains, “When you work in fashion, people are always like, ‘Stick with fashion, just make beautiful things.’ … You can never mix business with politics because you become less neutral. . ” Now, she realizes, “I can’t separate the world of fashion from the reality of what happens to our people.”

T-shirts made by Mr. Lim is working with creative director Ruba Abu-Nimah.


Alex Bohn

On the ancient idea that clothes should speak for themselves, he said, “Hello, that customer has left the building. You have to speak up, you have to get up front and be the face of the brand because your customers need to know what your point of view is, what your values ​​are, what you stand for. “Mr. Lim insists that her current brand is not about “physical beauty” and more about “beauty in shared values.” He continued, “I can no longer separate Phillip people from the Phillip Lim brand.”

One of these values-based fashion models is the conscious outdoor company Patagonia, which Mr. Lim to partner in “dream collaboration”. He explains, “Once you have that courage as a brand, it starts to automatically change your marketing and branding strategy. And in the end, your business will get better for it. ”

Mr. Lim has already started introducing causal driven clothing, with “New York, Tougher than Ever,” a project he launched last year with creative director Ruba Abu-Nimah. The initiative provides periodic T-shirts, T-shirts, tote bags and key chains decorated with slogans including “New York, Tougher than Ever” and “Stop Asian Hate,” with 100% of the net income going to various charities. The lines shift focus depending on what’s happening in the world; Last September they released “Beirut.” Tougher than Ever “hoodies in English and Arabic after a huge explosion occurred in Lebanon.

As the youngest of six children raised by refugees, Mr. Lim said, “I work hard to make sure I don’t forget where I came from.” When she was growing up, her mother, Hannah, was a full-time mother, but also a full-time tailor. Reflecting on her plate being too full, she remembers the plate and wonders how she arranged it. “I do this because I want to. He’s doing this because he has to. “

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Australian Woman Protests Government Handling of Sexual Harassment Allegations | Instant News

MELBOURNE, Australia – Allegations that the Australian attorney general committed rape 33 years ago and sexual harassment claims against a member of the defense minister’s staff have sparked widespread outrage among women, with tens of thousands marching in major cities this week.

The allegations, which have nothing to do, have highlighted state politics and the handling of sexual harassment and complaints of sexual violence.

Many protesters dressed in black and waved placards reading “enough” on Monday to express their frustration at the government’s response to the allegations, and the treatment of women by male MPs and their staff. They also seek to raise concerns about harassment and women’s rights at work and in society.

Australia lags behind other countries in terms of the proportion of women in the legislature. It now ranks 50th, next to Croatia and behind Zimbabwe, for women’s representation, according to data compiled by the Inter-Parliamentary Union, an international organization of national parliaments based in Geneva. Two decades ago, it was ranked 21st.

One of the speakers at Monday’s protests was Julia Banks, a center-right lawmaker who quit politics in 2019, citing bullying and sexist behavior by lawmakers. Over the past decade, several other female leaders have summoned male colleagues in parliament for their behavior, including Julia Gillard, who is the country’s first female prime minister. On one occasion, Miss Gillard’s main political opponent stood outside the parliament building next to a sign reading “The Witch’s Sewers.”

“A culture has developed over the years,” said Julie Bishop, a former deputy prime minister, this month in an interview with the Australian Broadcasting Corp. “I think it is embedded in parliament because the environment, conventions, protocols, all of them are formed when there are no women in parliament or very few women in parliament. “

Australia’s Attorney General, Christian Porter, denies allegations of rape stemming from an alleged incident 33 years ago.


stefan gosatti / Agence France-Presse / Getty Images

Monday’s protests were a challenge for Prime Minister Scott Morrison, whose popularity has risen because of it handling of the corona virus pandemic, but is now facing pressure from women’s rights activists to respond more firmly to allegations of rape and sexual assault.

Protest leaders are calling for new national laws on gender equality, more funding to prevent violence against women, and for the implementation of recommendations from a national sexual harassment investigation launched a year ago. While it is illegal to discriminate on the basis of gender in Australia, protest leaders say the laws are not sufficient to produce equal representation.

“It feels very profound,” said Suzannah Marshall Macbeth, a communications manager who attended one of the largest rallies outside Canberra’s Parliament Building. “Our politicians are so busy with this and they are accountable to us … it’s time to really demand change.”

A 2018 survey by the Australian Human Rights Commission, which is government-funded but operates independently, found that nearly a quarter of Australian women said they had experienced or attempted rape on at least one occasion.

A protester is comforted during a rally against sexual violence and gender inequality in Sydney on Monday.


steven saphore / Agence France-Presse / Getty Images

A recent survey by government statisticians on personal safety found that one in two women in Australia have been sexually harassed. The 2016 report also found that the proportion of women who experienced sexual violence within 12 months had increased compared to the previous survey four years earlier.

Mr Morrison has stood beside the attorney general, Christian Porter, who is the subject of a rape charge. Mr. Porter, the country’s chief legal officer, said he was 17 years old in 1988 when the alleged rape took place, and knew only briefly the whistleblower. He said he was 16 years old at the time.

Mr Porter denies allegations of rape and condemns what he says is a “trial by the media”. The allegations were detailed in a document sent anonymously to the prime minister and several other lawmakers. This allegation was first reported by the Australian Broadcasting Corporation, without naming Mr. Porter, before the Attorney General identifies himself as the accused.

“The things that were claimed to have happened did not happen,” said Mr. Porter in the press conference on March 3 was held to address these allegations. She indicated the rape allegedly took place when she and her accusers took part in an international debate competition at the University of Sydney.

Mr Porter did not respond to a request for further comment.

His accuser died of suicide last year shortly after deciding not to pursue a police complaint, according to police, who said there was not enough “acceptable evidence” to file a criminal charge.

Police said the woman first met detectives in February last year and was in contact with the agency “at least five times.” In June, the woman sent detectives an email indicating that she “no longer feels she can continue to report the matter, for both medical and personal reasons,” police said.

The police said by not filing an accusation against Mr. Porter at the time, they were following standard procedures in investigating the history of sexual assault because they had not obtained and reviewed all available evidence.

Brittany Higgins, who said a male colleague in the government raped her, spoke on Monday at a march in Canberra, Australia.


lukas coch / epa / Shutterstock

Porter’s press conference comes two weeks after former Secretary of Defense Linda Reynolds’ staff member, Brittany Higgins, announced allegations that an unnamed male colleague raped her in the minister’s office. Reynolds inside the Houses of Parliament in 2019.

Speaking at the Canberra rally on Monday, Higgins said his colleagues on staff did not support him when he came forward and cared more about their political livelihoods.

“I was raped in the Houses of Parliament by a colleague and all this time I felt that people around me didn’t care about what was happening because of what it meant to them,” said Higgins.

Higgins said he initially met the police shortly after the alleged rape but asked officers in April 2019 not to continue the investigation because he felt it would jeopardize his career. He made a formal complaint to the police last month.

On Friday, Mrs. Reynolds apologized for mentioning Ms. Higgins as the “lying cow”, and retracted his comments, which he said were made privately. She previously said the comments referred to the way Higgins’ claims were reported in the media, and not her allegations of rape. “I didn’t mean it in a sense that might have been understood,” he said.

Ms. Reynolds did not respond to a request for comment.

Morrison has publicly apologized to Ms. But Higgins has rejected calls for an independent investigation into the allegations against Mr Higgins. Porter, saying that it was the police’s responsibility to investigate.

On Monday, speaking in parliament, Morrison said all cases of sexual violence must be referred to the authorities and that the government is committed to ensuring all workplaces are safe and free from harassment and assault. She drew further criticism when she said women protesting outside the Houses of Parliament were lucky to do so in Australia when demonstrations in Myanmar were “greeted with bullets.”

Protest organizers estimate more than 100,000 people participated in Monday’s march across Australia. One of them, Janine Hendry, said she was motivated to act because she has a 16-year-old son.

“When I look around and see role models, senior politicians and senior business people – these are role models that will influence him, and that doesn’t make me happy,” he told the Australian Broadcasting Corp.

Write to Philip Wen on [email protected]

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A Wave of Black Politicians Takes Control in Brazil | Instant News

BAURU, Brazil – In its 124-year history, this mid-sized, largely white city in Brazil’s affluent agricultural belt has never had an Afro-Brazilian as mayor. Until now.

The inauguration on Friday of Suéllen Rosim, 32, came as thousands of black and mixed-race politicians from across the political spectrum took office in municipalities across Brazil in what was hailed as a victory for people of color and a major step against racism in the largest country in Latin America.

Increasing appreciation of Brazil’s African heritage and the rising profile of influential black politicians have fueled change. Brazil has the largest black or mixed-race population of any country outside Africa, nearly 120 million – more than half of the population – but only 4% of politicians in Congress are black.

A Supreme Court decision in October that forced parties to allocate a percentage of their state-provided campaign funds to black and mixed-race candidates also lifted politicians of color and prompted more to identify as such.

“We showed that it was possible – to be a woman, to be black, and to become a mayor, state governor or even president,” said Miss Rosim, the gospel singer and former television anchor in the city. of 380,000 people.

Protests broke out in Porto Alegre and across Brazil in November after a black man was beaten to death by security guards outside a supermarket in the southern city.


silvio avila / Agence France-Presse / Getty Images

In November municipal elections, for the first time, black and mixed-race politicians made up the majority of all candidates running for mayor and council seats across the nation of 210 million people. That’s up from 48% in the 2016 municipal elections. In the first round of voting, more than 40% of black or mixed-race candidates were elected, about 1,700 of them as mayors and nearly 26,000 as councilors, according to Brazil’s electoral court. The most common racial mix in Brazil is black and white; political candidates with black ancestry can identify themselves as black or mixed race.

Results in several corners of Brazil show a newfound strength: More than 50 people from quilombosremote communities of descendants of runaway slaves who had little political representation, would remain to work as councilors in cities outside of these settlements. Big cities like Rio de Janeiro and Curitiba, usually represented by white people, saw inroads by black politicians into city councils.

There are few black and mixed-race people in politics in Brazil’s top cities, and some Afro-Brazilian leaders say racial equality is coming too late. But change is happening. The share of Brazilians who embrace their African heritage and identify as black or mixed race has increased to 56% of the population in 2019 compared to 51% a decade earlier, according to the government’s statistics agency.

People in Rio de Janeiro celebrate Brazilian Black Awareness Day on November 20.


ricardo moraes / Reuters

While leftist parties have traditionally been the first to fight for racial equality in the country, a rising generation of black Brazilian politicians includes some who are left-leaning and many others who are religiously conservative.

Ms Rosim, the daughter of an evangelical Christian pastor, is running for the far-right Patriota Brasil party, which is allied with President Jair Bolsonaro, which opponents have accused of racist rhetoric. In 2017, Bolsonaro sowed anger when he said the people of the quilombo were “not even fit for procreation.”

Ms Rosim said Patriota party officials had proposed that she run, hoping to take advantage of the familiar face she had in Bauru.

Although he says he doesn’t always agree with the way the fiery Brazilian leader expresses himself, he shares his socially conservative agenda.

A third of Brazilians define themselves as evangelicals, according to a Datafolha poll, who espouse values ​​such as sexual abstinence to marriage, with Pentecostalism hugely popular in poorer black communities. But black conservatives are politically underrepresented.

“Being conservative, people wanted to put me in a box, they said I was acting against my own race,” said Mrs. Rosim.

Like many black Brazilian leaders, Ms. Rosim said he found inspiration in African-Americans, citing Michelle Obama as a role model despite their ideological differences. He said he hoped the election of black politicians in the local government could someday produce more representation at the federal level.

Brazil received far more African slaves than any other country in America and was the last to abolish the practice, in 1888. Unlike the US, there is no civil war, no large-scale civil rights movement, and no countrywide debate. about a national. racial calculations.

Instead, Brazilian leaders promote the idea of ​​”racial democracy”, presenting their society as one in which people of all skin colors mix harmoniously. Human rights activists say it is a myth that allows racism to persist in the shadows.

“I believe that racism is worse here than in the US,” said Paulo Paim, one of Brazil’s few black senators. “In the US there are problems and society is, one way or another, dealing with them…. But here people refuse to see it. “

White Brazilians not only dominate politics but are more likely to get richer, have college degrees, hold managerial positions, and live longer and healthier lives. Of the poorest 10% of Brazilians, three-quarters are black or mixed race.

Black Brazilians also account for three-quarters of homicide victims and nearly 80% of the 6,375 people killed by police in 2019.

Outrage over violence against black Brazilians escalated here and abroad in November when security guards were filmed beating a black customer to death outside a grocery store in Porto Alegre, a city in the south, a region mostly composed of immigrant descent. Europe.

For Miss Rosim, racism always presents itself in subtle ways, he said.

She remembers a university professor telling her to straighten her tight curls to get a job. She says she gets dirty looks from store employees, which she notes to them with the conclusion she lacks the money to make a purchase.

In politics, he said, prejudice is increasingly open and extreme. The death threat came via anonymous email at the weekend of the second round of elections in late November, calling him a “monkey”.

“It says, ‘I’m going to kill you, that awful hair, how can a city have a mayor like you, I know where you live,'” said Miss Rosim. Another anonymous message via WhatsApp called him a “seedy face”, saying that no people of color were competent enough to run the city.

Wall art in Rio de Janeiro depicts Brazilian councilor Marielle Franco near the site where she was murdered in 2018.


AFP via Getty Images

Despite the threat, social media has become a factor helping more black politicians get into politics, some of those politicians said. The murder of Marielle Franco, a black councilor in Rio de Janeiro who died in an unsolved 2018 murder, also raised Black political hopes.

“We are seeing new leadership figures emerge … I believe we are heading for a path of no hope,” said Bia Caminha, a 21-year-old, mixed-race student elected as the youngest city councilor ever. members in the city of Belem on the Amazon.

Recent affirmative action policies, including scholarship programs and racial quotas at universities, are also helping, rights activists and politicians of color say. However, there is also a growing appreciation of Black culture, with more Afro-Brazilians appearing on the covers of fashion magazines or starring in soap operas that the nation is so fond of.

For Mrs. Rosim, the most important thing, he said, was to be seen, both on television screens and in government. “I want people to see myself,” he said.

Write to Luciana Magalhaes and [email protected] and Samantha Pearson at [email protected]

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