Leading independent agency Venables Bell + Partners has announced the release of “Invisible No More,” a thought-provoking film that sheds light on the continual rise of hate incidents against Asian American and Pacific Islander (AAPI) communities.
VB+P collaborated with Stop AAPI Hate, a national coalition dedicated to confronting racism and other forms of bigotry against AAPI communities to honor Asian American, Native Hawaiian, and Pacific Islander (AANHPI) Heritage Month this May.
It is estimated that 1 in 5 AAPIs have recently experienced a hate incident, translating to millions of AAPIs nationwide. Stop AAPI Hate has documented more than 11,000 self-reported hate incidents since 2020 alone. But these numbers are just the tip of the iceberg, as research suggests AAPIs rarely feel comfortable reporting their experiences. This begs the question: How many more hate incidents go undocumented?
“Our communities are once again reeling from the mass shooting in Allen, Texas, a violent act of hate in which eight people were killed, including four Asians. It’s a reminder that two years after the COVID-19 pandemic sparked a wave of hate incidents, we’re still on edge — about the possibility of not only physical attacks but also workplace discrimination, verbal harassment, vandalism, and other forms of hate,” said Stop AAPI Hate Co-founder Manjusha Kulkarni, the Executive Director of AAPI Equity Alliance. “While many AAPIs remain fearful and anxious, we also know that many feel hesitant to report or don’t know where to report hate incidents. Encouraging people to share their experiences is essential in creating effective solutions to end anti-AAPI hate — and we are proud to partner with Venables Bell + Partners on a campaign that does just that.”
This question of how many more stories remain untold and how many personal experiences stay hidden in plain sight was the jumping-off point for the powerful new film “Invisible No More.” Working with acclaimed film and TV director Zoe Neary, editor Kamila Daurenova, and award-winning production partners Ruffian, Cut+Run, and Jogger, the film documents an ordinary afternoon in a bustling city as commuters and passers-by go about their day returning home from work. But within the normalness of these everyday scenes, an unsettling feeling emerges as we realize that AAPIs have been hidden amidst the backdrops this entire time. As the cast is revealed, they create a striking representation of the marginalized and unseen, finally making themselves visible and encouraging others to do the same.
"As an Asian American, I've personally experienced the traumatic impact of AAPI hate,” said Che-Na Stephenson, Group Creative Director at VB+P. "Recently, on my routine walk home, a group of people started yelling racially derogatory slurs at me. I was shocked and felt anger, fear, and sadness. It's disheartening to realize I was targeted simply because of my Asian features." She continued, "AAPI hate is not just an isolated incident but a deep-rooted issue that needs to be addressed. It's a painful reminder that prejudice still exists in our society, despite our progress toward inclusivity and acceptance. Our community must speak up so that these incidents are no longer ignored. I'm grateful to VB+P for giving me and my team the opportunity and creative freedom to work on issues that impact real people's lives."
VB+P and Stop AAPI Hate hope that this effort raises awareness of the bigotry this community faces and empowers more AAPIs to raise their voices, to be acknowledged and accounted for, to take up space, and finally, to be seen.