Friends - first, wherever you are, I hope you're safe and well.
I'm starting this GoFundMe because I'm donating 300 masks on behalf of Nam & Ko in solidarity with the #BlackLivesMatter. We started this fundraiser with a focus on New York City. We have since begun shipping masks to the Bay Area to support the movement on the West Coast.
I'm focusing on 3 causes:
- Peaceful protests
- Street medics treating protestors (NYC Action Medical, Bay Area Street Medical Alliance)
- Nonprofit health centers serving POC communities (RiseBoro Health)
I would like to increase this donation to 1,099 masks for 1,099 lives lost to police brutality.
This is the number of people killed by police in 2019. In that year, black Americans were 3x more likely to be killed than white.
I wish I could donate the total 1,099 on my own. But I lost my job due to COVID-19 and have not yet broken even on Nam & Ko.
I can afford to donate the first 300 masks out of pocket. To reach 1,099, I need help.
Please donate first to emergency funds for #BlackLivesMatter.
If you have not yet given, I encourage you to first donate to causes directly linked to #BlackLivesMatter.
If you have already given and are passionate about public health, please consider sponsoring the cost of these masks.
Black and brown communities are threatened by the police and the pandemic.
We must demand justice for George Floyd, Ahmaud Arbery, Breonna Taylor, and the tragic roll call of lives lost to racial violence. We must also prevent a second wave of COVID-19, which is twice as deadly for black and Hispanic people.
Even at vigils with social distancing, keeping 6 feet apart is not always possible. This makes wearing a quality face mask even more important.
Our masks were designed to be worn by the public. They're made from performance fabrics that offer more protection than homemade face coverings. They're also not as hot and unbreathable as surgical masks.
$8,884 covers the cost of labor and materials to reach 1,099 masks.
Each Nam & Ko mask costs $11.12 to produce. By comparison, Rag & Bone masks cost $21.00.
Manufacturing in New York is expensive. But it allows us to pay fair wages to New York fashion workers who otherwise would have lost their jobs to COVID-19 #SmallBusinessRelief. It's also the reason we are able to stock masks while major brands are still on backorder.
I am donating the first 300 masks and I am not taking any profit from the additional 799. In fact, I am still losing money by covering operational expenses. But the investment in this movement is worth the financial discomfort.
Solidarity across races has never been more important.
I am an Asian woman (in case my name didn't give it away). Specifically, Korean-American.
In 1992, a Korean-American woman shot and killed a 15 year old black girl named Latasha Harlins. She thought Latasha was planning to steal an orange juice from her grocery store. Witnesses reported that Latasha had $2 in her hand to pay for the juice.
In the days that followed, the Korean immigrant community suffered $500 million in looting during the Rodney King riots.
I have often thought about this moment in our history. When your store is burning, is it not easy to remember how you got here. But as Asian Americans, we must take a look in the mirror.
Like the virus, racism is contagious. It is invisible, spreading unnoticed. We can be an "asymptotic" carrier, unaware that we can spreading this disease. Only when it is too late, do we realize the toll it has taken on lives. We must accept responsibility for the suffering we have caused and stand in solidarity with black leaders calling for change.
In 2020, an Asian American officer looked away while George Floyd was murdered. As the #BlackLivesMatter movement rose in protest, I did not want to look away. Donating masks felt like right action to take beyond simply supporting from the sidelines.
Love is also contagious. And so is hope.
My hope is that this donation shows commitment. Brands and small businesses must do more than post on social media - even if we are also barely scraping by. Black leaders are showing the way. I am trying to do my part to keep black and allied communities safe.
We can't change how 2020 started. But we can write how it ends.
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