Posts tagged with "Stop Asian Hate"

Heather Skovlund computer illustration for use by 360 Magazine

CSR In The Digital Age: With 360 Magazine

By: Kai Yeo

“We’re all connected through culture. Basically, we all must learn to adapt. We learn more through traveling and seeing more. When you’re in a different environment, everybody must love and laugh and dance. I don’t need to know your language. But companies need to focus on connecting everyone through love, not war.” – Vaughn Lowery

Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) has been around for years, with its’ roots being found as early as the 18th Century. In my CSR research assignment before, I wrote that “the key idea of CSR is for companies to pursue pro-social objectives and promote volunteerism among employees (such as through donating to charity and participating in volunteer work), as well as by minimizing environmental externalities.” As an international student trying to find my career path in the United States, I find that company CSR is one of the first few things I look for when finding a suitable company to work with: how genuine they are and how much they care for their employees. The process of researching and writing my essay on CSR in the modern day and CSR within my internship site provided me with the valuable opportunity not only to learn about an important business topic, but also allowed me to develop a better understanding of what it is.

For my CSR Interview, I got the opportunity to speak on the phone with my supervisor Vaughn Lowery. His career started from “humble beginnings in Detroit to a full scholarship in Cornell University under the ILR program. From there, he became active in modeling, acting, and producing screenplays.” Now, Vaughn is the publisher and founder of leading fashion and lifestyle magazine, 360 Magazine, which is also my internship site. His job involves fostering relationships within the community and being an editorial director that curates and oversees content for all columns of the magazine. The position also entails making sure that Apple News, LinkedIn, Twitter, and all other news sites are updated. As a pop culture and design magazine, it is important to constantly be up to date with relevant content and breaking news. Being a quarterly publication, 360 is also working on their summer magazine issue. Vaughn mentions that with COVID making everything digital, the team has been working on expanding the business: creating a self-publishing division, developing e-commerce, getting sponsors, and most importantly, waiting for things to start opening back up.

With a background in studying business and company culture, Vaughn says that his education helped him design a company culture that made sense, “Transparency, cool kids, intelligence. I wanted a space for comfort regardless of race, age, and religion. Education was not the answer to my business but a part of the process to help with preparing for my magazine. The most important thing is life experiences, there are no books on it.” Vaughn emphasizes sending people in his company for events and communicating with clientele because “you can’t speak about things you don’t know.” COVID has made jobs in the media a little more mundane, but he’s excited about things opening back up and is hopeful for the future. Without in-person experiences, it is hard to understand the inner workings of media companies with everything being digitally produced.

Vaughn defines Corporate Social Responsibility at 360 Magazine as “having an environment that is inviting and inclusive, especially showcasing inclusivity.” As a magazine that promotes culture and lifestyle, it is important that everyone he works with is aware of what is going on in the world that we live in and what is happening with minority populations. He speaks about being the only African American in a lot of his school and work experiences, and he created 360 with the ideal of having more minorities and women working in his company: “We all live in the same world… and some people don’t know that. But we need representation and for people to see us. It’s not on us to educate them, but it’s on us to speak up.” 360 avidly speaks up for diversity (#metoo) and openly supports nonprofit organizations.

When asked about how veritable he thinks big companies are with CSR movements, he says that they’re doing it for a myriad of reasons. Companies get away with more stuff as a corporation, “But the responsibility is about being genuine. The board of directors and Zoom calls and the whole spiel. If they’re trying to just make money, revenue principals are not true to themselves. 360 was founded on real culture. The diversity is important. It is what it is.”

“Your company diversity is a reflection of the world, we’ve been doing this since the start of 360, we’ve been ahead of the trend.” The magazine has always featured drag queens, people who are transgender, and minorities, “This is very important when doing events and stuff, it’s a big family. We have less than 50 people. And it’s important for our clients to know that we have each other and rely on each other. That we know how to respect one another and appreciate each other, despite all odds.” Vaughn believes that diversity and inclusion of people of color has always been important, and he emphasizes that 360 will keep pushing these agendas and morals as long as he’s the head of the company. I see this in his effort to get everyone together (even if it is just on Zoom for now) to celebrate big articles, book releases, sponsorships, and so on.

As I type this interview essay, I find two key points to really reflect on: 1) assumptions about company morale and 2) why diversity is so important to me.

1) I think back on everyone else I’ve spoken to during my time as an intern here with 360, and I find that these core values that Vaughn spoke about with me are reflected in all the conversations I’ve had with him and other employees. Coming from a very structured, patriarchal Asian background, I came into this internship thinking that it would be like all my previous experiences (they talk of diversity, but it’s never really executed once you’re a part of it – school projects, internships, part-time jobs, and so on). However, no one in the company has been curt or condescending when speaking with me, and they truly mean it when they point out mistakes and gently correct me. Maybe it is because of the way I was brought up, or the environment I was most familiar in, but these good intentions had me on my toes for the first couple weeks I was here, and I’m honestly still getting used to it.

2) With the rise of Asian hate crimes in the past year, I find myself turning very reclusive and immediately trying to find fault with people when something brushes me the wrong way (though sometimes it really is a racist comment or remark). It’s been difficult having to correct people when they say my name wrong or trying to explain my culture when these simple things can so easily be looked up online. I’ve been very lucky growing up well-traveled and seeing different parts of the world, and I understand that not everyone has that privilege, but how far does “I don’t know” get you in the digital age? I need to work in a company where people are willing to learn and grow new perspectives, and I see this quality in Vaughn too as he speaks about his loneliness as the only African American in his industry when he was first starting out.

After 45 minutes of talking about diversity and the whole CSR conversation winding down, Vaughn tells me to keep doing what I love, “Understanding the industry through work experiences is how you’ll get in. It’s constantly changing.” He talks about learning to forecast and foreshadow and having connections at arms’ reach. By the end of our conversation, I felt that I learnt a lot and could have a clearer vision of what I wanted out of this internship. I’ve had the opportunities to go for company events (for brands including Lillet, Chinese Laundry, Rockstar Original, etc.), though I would really like to be able to go to a CSR event in the near future to promote these same values that I share with 360 Magazine.

To read more about Vaughn Lowery, please visit his Wikipedia and IMBD.

The 6th Clothing Co image via Badi Tolo for use by 360 Magazine

The 6th Clothing Co. QxA

The 6th Clothing Co. creates athleisure wear that inspires greatness and brings people together. On the 6th Clothing Co.’s website, the brand defines their mindset as such: “6th man” mentality: patience and sacrifice in the face of adversity, but always a belief in himself and what could be accomplished when it’s your time to shine.” The recent drop of the Summer of 6th Collection highlights this optimistic attitude. Pieces from the collection, such as the One Tribe Unisex Demin Jacket and the Summer ’21 Give More Tee are printed with positive messages to uplift and motivate customers to “Do More, Be More, and Give More Together.” To learn more about the 6th Clothing Co., visit their website. A portion of proceeds from all purchases will be donated to various non-profit organizations.

We spoke with founder/CEO Badi Tolo about the inspiration behind the 6th man mentality, nonprofits that the 6th Clothing Co. collaborates with, and exciting upcoming pop-up shop opportunities. 

How do you define the clothing style of streetwear?

Unisex athleisure wear for all ages.

What nonprofits does the 6th Clothing CO. work with?

Currently, I’m spotlighting two great nonprofits, A Little Help (support elderly citizens by connecting neighbors) and Colorado Skateboarding Society (trying to get funding and support to build a top-of-the-line skate facility in Colorado where everyone is welcome). I’ve worked with close to 15 various non-profits though over a span of just over 2 years (one of which included a pandemic, haha) and all my products that aren’t specific to those nonprofits automatically contribute 6% of proceeds to various select nonprofits with every order. Long story short–the spotlight periods are focused on one or two [charities] at a time, but I want to continue to support as many causes and organizations as I can over time, with the resources I have available. I believe [that] helping out those who help those beyond my reach is having an impact [that] I (and my customers) can’t measure, but it’s one the world needs.

On your website’s About section, you mention sacrifice in the face of adversity. Did you come up with the “6th Man” mentality? If not, where does this idea come from?

As far as I know, I came up with it haha. I think generally a 6th man on a bench has a mentality that drives him/her, but I guess I just decided to define it as the core of my brand because I played ball when I was younger and [it] just kind of fit the career and passions I’ve had professionally. When I played, I started but I never viewed myself as someone who was just given anything. So, I always tried to leave it out there and play with that chip on my shoulder, like a 6th man would.

It was something I defined a little later in life as my “6th Man Mentality”. I think I honed-in on that message most coming out of high school when I reflected on regretting not giving basketball another shot after I was cut from my sophomore team and diagnosed with lymphoma cancer shorty after. That was pretty traumatic for me as a 15–16-year-old kid. I just kind of moved on through the rest of my high school life without revisiting the game I loved so much before the cancer thing. Going into college, I knew that I had sort of quit on something that I loved doing because of the cancer, because of the fear, because of pride. I knew I had more to give than that, so I decided going into college I would do everything I loved and could and go hard with it. I got more into music, I played new sports. I played gym ball for hours a day multiple times a week for basically 5 years. I became pretty decent and just had fun playing again while going through college. I was just grateful for the opportunity again, and I would give it everything I could–whether it was gym ball, city league hoops, music, school, family, work. That’s what the 6th man/woman does. They sacrifice for the team, but they know what they [need to do to] bring and relish those opportunities. That approach has driven me throughout life and lead to many more opportunities, personally and professionally, that I’m grateful for.

What is your favorite piece of apparel you have ever produced?

The first tee I ever did. [The] logo was huge right across the front of the chest and it says, “One Tribe” (which is my slogan/tagline) in a script font. I got a small run of tees printed and was just excited. [It] felt like that vision to have a brand where I could spread that [6th Man] mentality was finally here and real. I gave one to my mom, [and] kept one for myself. Funny story–I actually had a friend who [went] to a Meet and Greet with Mike Shinoda, at a concert of his we went to back in 2018. My buddy did me a solid and gave him one of my shirts, which I was super hype on because I was a big fan back in the day. [The] Linkin Park/Jay-Z collab was on repeat back then! Anyways, [I] always hoped I’d see a photo of him randomly wearing it someday haha, but it was just cool that he accepted it and signed a card my buddy gave to me. I don’t even think I have it up on my store anymore, but I might have to bring it back!

How would you describe the look of the “Summer of 6th ’21 Collection”?

[The] Summer of 6th look is just rolling with the current trend of tie dye prints. I wanted a little pop of color, which I’m trying to do a little more of with my brand. So, [I] got pink, sky blue, and black mixed with white tie die all over [the] print products. [Staying] true to the brand, I have to keep that message going, so a couple [pieces] say “DO MORE, BE MORE, GIVE MORE.” I’ll be adding a couple pieces to match (bathing suit, women’s dress and some youth options) probably in late June. There’s a little something for everyone, so get it while it’s hot! Everybody’s rockin’ the tie dye right now. Might as well give back and make a difference automatically while you’re shopping for it.

Do you have a favorite piece from the “Summer of 6th ’21 Collection?

The Diamond Mentality Tee. [It] has my logo masked out in tie die with a diamond shape around it, and the word “mentality” across the front. Simple and to the point. That’s what it’s all about for me. That’s how I built this brand, how I’m building my life and career. It’s always about your mentality through the ups and downs. Sometimes you need a reminder, so why not say it with your chest? It’s there for you and for anyone who can draw a little fire and inspiration from it.

Can you tell us about any exciting, upcoming artists who are to be featured within The Drop Collection?

I do have a collab in the works that will speak to the Stop Asian Hate movement, so I will hopefully be dropping a tee for that in July. I have a sponsor [who is working] on that tee who is based in the Bay area. Th[ey] do a lot for youth in the Asian community there. A percentage of sales proceeds will go directly back to them to support their efforts in the community and spread the word.

Aside from that, I’ll continue to feature a friend, Curt Fulsty of C Fulsty Books as one of my current featured artists. He illustrates children’s books about difficult issues that sometimes adults tend to gloss over or avoid. I think that’s important in today’s world, so I was happy to collab with him.

I’d love to work with a music artist for sure as I’ve always just been a big music fan. My first Drop Collection collab was with an artist/radio personality out of LA, named Jackie Hollywood. We did some lyric merch from a music video when it dropped, so I want to do more of that. The 6th is a new brand on the scene, so really I’m just hustling to try and get the name out, make a few sales, and support these nonprofits. So, I’m open to opportunities or people of interest that like the vibe and want to make something happen.

What is to come from the 6th Clothing Co. in the rest of 2021?

Some new merch for sure. With my current nonprofit spotlight, I’ll be doing a little popup at an event later this month where there will be a bunch of skate brands and other partners there to support their mission of building a skate facility here in Colorado. So, that’s exciting to be a part of that. I’ve got a couple more nonprofit spotlights lined up, so [I] will be working behind the scenes on that. Aside from that, sky is the limit. I always say, “Wherever I’m at in life with my brand, with my mission–I’m just getting started.” It’s all about mentality so who knows what the future holds, but I’m excited about it.

The 6th Clothing CO. Hat image via Badi Tolo for use by 360 Magazine

No More Hate illustration by Heather Skovlund for 360 Magazine

Atlanta Shooting

By: Carly Cohen × Heather Skovlund

Early this week, a tragedy had occurred in Atlanta, Georgia. A total of eight victims were killed at the Georgia spa. Six of the eight victims were Asian, and when the suspect got caught, he claimed that “his actions were not racially motivated.” It was stated that it was too soon in the investigation to claim this shooting as a hate crime; however, the shootings were “aimed at a recent wave of attacks against Asian Americans that coincided with the spread of the coronavirus across the United States.” The suspect claimed that apparently “sex addition” drove him to commit these murders.

There were multiple incidents: the first occurred at Young’s Asian Massage Parlor in a mall off Highway ninety-two, about thirty miles north of Atlanta. When the police got the call, five people were shot, and two were dead while three were rushed to the hospital. An hour later, after this tragedy, two other shootings happened right across the street- one being on Piedmont, the other at the Gold Spa and Aromatherapy.

There were seven women and one man; most of them were Asian. The victims have been identified as Delainia Ashley Yaun, Paul Andre Michels, Xiaojie Tan, and Daoyou Feng.

Yaun and her husband, Mario Gonalez, were off work getting a couples massage at Young’s Asian Massage when the tragedy started. Her husband safely made it out of the salon, but he and his wife were in separate rooms when the shooting was started. They had a family together; a thirteen-year-old son and an infant daughter. It is sad to say that this woman was a victim in this shooting that not one person deserved -separating families, taking parents, taking siblings. It is a terrible, terrible thing that no one deserved. John Beck, Yaun’s manager, voiced to BuzzFeed News that “her heart was so big.” She would feed homeless people and offer them clothes and a place to shower. Hearing a person who is so kind and so pure as Yaun makes you ask the question, “why do bad things happen to good people.” It doesn’t make sense and is not fair.

Xiaojie Tan was the owner of Young’s Asian Massage as was another victim of the attack. She was known for being an extremely hardworking small-business owner and had such a big heart filled with love and kindness. Her client, Greg Hynson, stated that when he came for an appointment on his birthday a year ago, she had a birthday cake waiting for him. Another victim, Paul Andre Micheals, was a U.S Army infantry veteran married for more than two decades. He was a “dedicated, hardworking, loving man,” his brother stated.

These killings brought a “wave of outrage and attention to violence against Asian-American people.” As soon as social media was notified of the attacks and assumed to be focused on Asian’s, you could see all over the media celebrities, influencers, and people left and right posting regarding standing up for the lost lives and spreading awareness to this hate crime and all hate crimes in general. The media has been outraged and will continue to stand together.