Over the past year, frogs have made focused efforts to share conversations, resources, and stories to support inclusivity and representation across our global studio network. During Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage month, those supports have focused on raising awareness about issues facing the AAPI community. Here are some of the highlights and insights from these ongoing conversations in our studios.
In early summer 2020, as the world reckoned with the surging pandemic and renewed mass protests against police violence, frogs started taking matters into their own hands. At frogSF, designers Eclair Junchaya and Raquel Kalil organized a grassroots program to create change in their community by supporting action and engagement. Their Take Action initiative, which started as a deck of articles, videos and other resources shared during frogSF’s Monday Morning Meetings, has expanded to other studios and issues, including voting rights and sustainable design.
In the NY studio, frogs organized a series of Conscious Conversations designed to provide a safe, supportive and honest space for frogs from the AAPI community to share and their thoughts and experiences with each other and with their colleagues. While these conversations were often difficult, the space to be vulnerable created many powerful opportunities for better understanding and support, helping the initiative to spread quickly across frog’s global studio network. After participating in Conscious Conversation, Angie Martin, Senior Strategy Researcher at frog France, said, “I learned…that most of the people in the team experience the ‘faker’ or ‘impostor’ syndrome and are afraid of not being good enough. Now I feel less lonely and have less pressure.”
Below, two frogs share some of their personal thoughts and reflections from these conversations over the past months.
“As Cathy Park Hong wrote in Minor Feelings: An Asian American Reckoning, “The problem with silence is that it can’t speak up and say why it’s silent. And so silence collects, becomes amplified, takes on a life outside our intentions, in that silence can get misread as indifference, or avoidance, or even shame, and eventually this silence passes over into forgetting.” Though it’s not a famous quote, I shared it at our MMM because I believe it, and I believe it often repeats: The discomfort of simply talking about racism is nothing in comparison to the discomfort of experiencing it firsthand. Every individual has a part in turning the page for a better tomorrow.”
— Yukari Yamahiro, Senior Strategist, Org Activation, frogNY
“While there are many established organizations doing great work, the resources I’ve turned to the most in recent months have been individuals who are showing up, each in their own way. Some of these people are my peers and friends who turn to each other directly for emotional support. But some are people I see from a distance (thanks, Instagram and TikTok). In addition to providing a support network, these individuals are also inspirational in the way that they’re using their assorted reach to share their work, talents and passions, fueling awareness and empathy to Stop AAPI Hate. From artists creating pamphlets and murals, to news broadcasters highlighting events ignored by mainstream media, to physical therapists using livestreams to discuss racial inequity while teaching mobility, to restaurateurs offering special fundraising menus, volunteers escorting the elderly on grocery runs…The list goes on and on. It has reminded me that activism can take on so many different shapes, and that impact at every scale is important.”
— Fran Wang, Senior Mechanical Engineer, frogSF
These initiatives and collective actions are creating a ripple effect of listening and learning, inspiration and action across our global pond, proving once again that change often starts with grassroots efforts. It starts with all of us, working together to make a difference by amplifying the messages of inclusion, understanding and empathy however we can.