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The M Dash

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Our Founders’ Response to the Recent Hate Crimes Against Asians in America

By Sarah LaFleur & Miyako Nakamura

To our dearest M.M. community,

In recent months, we’ve felt conflicted about making a statement regarding the hate crimes perpetrated against the Asian community. While we’ve experienced racism and are proud of our Japanese heritage, posting a short Instagram comment as a means of making change felt hollow, like a crutch for true activism. Then, when we heard about the murder of eight people, including six women of Asian descent, in Atlanta on Tuesday, it took us a few days to process what we wanted to say about these ongoing hate crimes, if anything. What we’ve landed on is this: Unless we challenge the underlying structural issues that lead to moments like this, hate crimes like what happened in Atlanta are here to stay.

If you follow our company, we hope it’s obvious that we oppose racism and misogyny. Much of what we do at M.M. is aimed at furthering our mission of helping women succeed. What we’ve decided to do at this particular moment is no different.

As always, we will amplify the needs and stories of real women. We will continue our long-standing charitable partnerships with Bottomless Closet and the International Rescue Committee—two organizations that work to support women of all races in gaining control of their careers and futures. We will continue finding ways to support women making true, lasting change. We are committed to practicing anti-racism across all aspects of our business and have transparently outlined our policy on our website and in our stores. As a company, we owe so much of our success to our Japanese, Chinese, and Vietnamese partners, who are our suppliers, investors, and thought partners, and we will continue sharing information about their contributions throughout our content.

On a personal level, Sarah is committing to: 1) increasing her contribution to public broadcasting to stem the spread of false information; 2) continuing to donate her time and a portion of her income to the International Rescue Committee, and 3) strengthening her relationship with the Japan Society in New York. Miyako is committing to 1) featuring more Japanese design techniques in the clothes that she makes and 2) sharing her knowledge about our manufacturing partners in Asia, and their high level of craftsmanship, with our community and beyond.

We also want to hear from you, our amazing community. We’ve already seen a beautiful outpouring of support and love on our Slack community. We welcome you to join in this conversation and let us know: How are you fighting racism and misogyny? We know there is so much talent in this proverbial room. If you’d like to share your thoughts, please reach out to us at sml@mmlafleur.com. We look forward to reading every response.


Standing with the Asian Community

In the wake of Tuesday’s murders, many are wondering what they can do to support and uplift the AAPI community. Here are a few places to start:

  • • Donate to organizations fighting to end Asian hate. 
  • Understand the link between racism, misogyny, and the sexualization of Asian women that led to Tuesday’s shooting.
  • • Refuse to stay silent, and report incidents of racism when you see them.
  • • Share mental health resources, such as this one, from Real, which is offering free services to people who identify as Asian, people of color, and allies.

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