A group of 17 Asian women chefs, restaurant owners, and pop-up purveyors in Atlanta have organized a food-driven fundraiser in support of the Asian community, following the March 16 murders of eight people — six of them women of Asian descent — at three spa businesses in Cherokee County and city of Atlanta.
The Asian grazing box fundraiser includes both sweet and savory food items from chef Thip Athakhanh (Snackboxe Bistro), chef Young Hui Han (Woo Nam Jeong Stone Bowl House), Mia Orino (Kamayan ATL), Monica Sunny (the Chai Box), and chef Jiyeon Lee (Heirloom Market BBQ), among others. Grazing boxes cost $75 each and serve up to three people. A $25 t-shirt, designed by Sokai Yoon, is also available for purchase.
All of the money raised from the sales of the grazing boxes and t-shirts goes to the Atlanta chapter of nonprofit organization Asian Americans Advancing Justice and will be distributed to the families of the victims.
“As a first generation Korean American who moved to this country with two suitcases to better my life, I quickly learned to fit into the mold of being a ‘model minority’,” chef Seung Hee Lee of Korean Fusion tells Eater of her participation in the fundraiser. “I was more eager to succeed than stand up for myself when someone shout ‘love me long time’ or ‘go back to China.’ I thought that was part of being an American, until I realized, ‘wait, why can’t I be successful and fight for my own dignity?’”
Lee says the pandemic only made her more aware of bigoted hate speech and crimes against the Asian community in America.
The past year has seen a significant rise in anti-Asian attacks. Asian-owned businesses across the United States, including Chinese restaurants and entities in various Chinatowns, have been the targets of vandalism, bigoted prank calls, and dramatic drops in sales.
Following the March 16 spa shootings, Lee says she knew she could no longer remain silent. “There may be many Asian Americans and immigrants who still have a lot to lose and thus remain silent. I want to be the voice for them.”
Like Lee, many of the those involved in the grazing box fundraiser also participated in the March 23 benefit at Poncey-Highland restaurant 8ARM. The event raised $21,000 in just three hours for nonprofit organizations Asian Americans Advancing Justice and National Asian Pacific American Women’s Forum.
Place orders online for a grazing box ($75) or a t-shirt ($25) by Wednesday, April 7. Pickup takes place Sunday, April 11, from 3 p.m. to 6 p.m., at Snackboxe Bistro or Heirloom Market BBQ. Limited quantities. Masks required at pickup.