Growing Up Asian

A word from Paul, the founder of Positively Asian:

When I was growing up, I would often get teased on the playground for being Asian and I began to question my own sense of identity. I began to feel ashamed of who I was and tried to hide being Asian. I wanted to fit in with others and assimilate so I wouldn’t get teased anymore. I was negatively Asian.

As I have grown older, I have realized the need to consciously and continuously counteract the anti-Asian racism, hatred and negative stereotypes that exist in our society. I want my kids to be proud of their Asian background. This is how the concept of being positively Asian was born.

April 26, 2022

Dear Family and Friends:

We hope everyone is doing well. It’s been a while, but here’s a long overdue update.

Thank you for your support of Positively Asian last summer…it means the world to us! Our first pop-up store sold 60 t-shirts and generated $380.94 of profit which we donated in full to the not-for-profit Stop AAPI Hate. We also know that many of you made direct donations to Stop AAPI Hate which we greatly appreciate.

Good news: for Asian American Pacific Islander Heritage Month in May, we reopened the online store and produced t-shirts in new colors!

We don’t expect you to buy another t-shirt unless you are really, really positively Asian, but feel free to forward this email to other friends, family and co-workers who might be interested. For an additional way to put your support into action, click here for some tips on how to intervene if you witness any Asian hate occurring around you.

We wanted to thank Paul's niece Amanda for drawing and designing the t-shirt. Many commented that the artwork and logo were beautiful and really captured the sentiment of what Positively Asian is all about. She will be a freshman this fall at the Milwaukee Institute of Art & Design, majoring in illustration.

Finally, for those in the Chicago area, Positively Asian will have a table at the inaugural AAPI Golden Market on Sunday May 15.

Thank you again - as we move forward in this pandemic, we hope you will wear our t-shirts out and about this summer wherever your plans take you.

With love and gratitude,

Paul and Erin

The T-Shirt Campaign

Thinking of our Asian-ness as something positive is a powerful way to counteract all the negative messages that are often sent to Asian Americans. A t-shirt is a way to spread the message that “I am Positively Asian” and “I support you as an Asian.”

When you wear a Positively Asian t-shirt, we hope it will reinforce the importance of feeling good about yourself and being proud of your ethnic identity.

We also hope that when an Asian child, adult or elder sees you wearing this shirt, they will feel seen - they will feel safe - and they will feel validated in their Asian identity.

Who can wear the t-shirt?

Anyone who supports being positively Asian. If you are not of Asian background, you can still wear this t-shirt to show your support for Asians as an ally. We hope to make a special edition ally t-shirt soon!

What will we do with proceeds from t-shirt sales?

All proceeds will be donated to Stop AAPI Hate, a not-for-profit organization that runs a reporting center for Asian hate crime and discrimination in America. In time we may expand our support to other organizations promoting the wellbeing of Asian Americans.

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What about all the other Asian identities?

To keep it simple and catchy, we are using the term Positively Asian. We recognize that Asians are not a monolithic group and that not everyone in the community would identify as Asian. For the next version of our t-shirt, we are looking into ways to represent the various Asian American, South Asian, Native Hawaiian and Pacific Islander identities.

About the Artist

The inaugural t-shirt and logo were designed by Paul’s 17-year-old niece Amanda who is a talented digital artist. She used the contour method to draw the artwork with one continuous line. The artwork is of beautiful Asian faces, old and young, representing various Asian heritages. The images also honor our Asian elders who have been targets of the recent violence. Thank you, Amanda! Visit her Instagram to view more of her artwork.

Partnership Opportunities

We believe that employers and universities play an important role in influencing social change. If you belong to an employee resource group at a company or a student group at a university, we encourage you to purchase this t-shirt and include your logo. This is one way of actively demonstrating your support and allyship for the AAPI community. Please send us an email at with your contact information, approved logo and authorization of use by your company or university. We will work with the printer to create the t-shirt.

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