By Audrey Willett:
The Asian Justice Act is all about storytelling and intersectional activism from the point of view of marginalized Asian and minority communities in the modern world. On their website, they speak to misconceptions about the AAPI community and hope to combat negative stereotypes. Please enjoy our interview below!
AW: Tell us all about you and your organization!
BZ: My name is Brianna Zhao. I, along with my team, am based in New Jersey. I have always been passionate about social advocacy and reform, especially focusing on raising awareness for marginalized communities in our society. Because of my Asian heritage, I started noticing the growing anti-Asian hate crimes all throughout our country and how little mainstream news covered this issue. So, I created Asian Justice Act, a global literary magazine, to act as a reliable source to shed light on problems affecting BIPOC and AAPI groups everywhere. My team of writers and editors constantly contribute with forms of art, literature, and personal stories to fuel our mission of combating harmful stereotypes and celebrating diverse cultures.
AW: Why do you think it’s important for your generation to let their voices be heard?
BZ: I think it’s extremely important for our generation to speak up and use our voices, because we embody the future. Gen Z has the power to initiate real change through being bold, assertive, and educated.
AW: Are you optimistic or pessimistic about the future?
BZ: I am optimistic, because I believe our thoughts align with our actions. Staying positive all throughout hardships or even through times where politics seemed to be disappointing in many ways has helped me develop a strong mindset and keep sight of my own goals. If we want real change, we have to believe there’s a chance for it to happen.
AW: What are the most important issues facing our world right now? And in the future?
BZ: There are a multitude of issues facing our world, but I think a pressing one would be the topic of educational disparity. A lot of minority or socioeconomically disadvantaged groups of people aren’t getting a rightful education, which contributes to a cycle of poverty that plagues our global society. For the future, this issue, along with racial inequality, are big problems expanding in our modern world.
AW: What does your organization offer that helps the world be a better place?
BZ: Asian Justice Act brings a welcoming, international platform for people of all different backgrounds. We focus on bringing to light racial injustice issues and hold discussions about cultural identity. At the core of our organization, though, is informing youth, and really anyone, about current social issues regarding Asian and underrepresented communities. My team and I hope to empower diverse voices to be willful, future change-makers.
AW: Will you be voting in the next election?
AW: Please tell us all about your current campaigns, projects, and endeavors. Tell everyone where to find you online and on social platforms.
BZ: Currently, we have launched LGBTQ+ campaigns that include art and literary works to celebrate Pride and raise awareness for non-binary communities. We have also been focusing on unethical labor rights in Asia, publishing articles on this issue. Recently, we have also hosted a cultural flute performance by two students identifying as AAPI. All of this can be found on our website (our Instagram link is on there as well)!
AW: If there is anything else you would like to say, please do!
BZ: Never stop using your voice, speaking up, and taking (informed) action! United, we stand tall!
Audrey Willett is a southern California sophomore in high school. She is an activist and aspiring filmmaker, and the Social Media Outreach coordinator for The Gen Z Collective.