If you haven’t heard, May is AAPI Heritage Month!
Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month (AAPI Heritage Month) is a month-long observance held each May to recognize and celebrate the contributions made by individuals and groups of Asian and Pacific Islander descent in Pacific in the United States.
AAPI Heritage Month dates back to the early 1970s, when increasing efforts were made to recognize the contributions of Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders to the United States.
May 3-10 was proposed as Asian/Pacific American Heritage Week in 1977 by New York Representative Frank Horton
In 1990, Congress extended the observance from one week to one month, and today is a moment we celebrate every year here at 100% PURE, in solidarity with millions of Native Americans. Asian and Pacific Islanders nationwide.
And this year, we wanted to take the time to talk about the importance of Asian American representation in beauty and business, because it’s a topic close to our hearts.
Why AAPI Heritage Month Should Be On Everyone’s Calendar
First, let’s give a little history about this special month.
Since immigrating to the United States, Asians have had to overcome a number of obstacles, including racism, xenophobia, prejudice and violence.
In the 1850s, Chinese immigrants to California were abused, exploited and killed in San Francisco and Sacramento, while the Supreme Court ruled in People vs. Hall that Asian Americans could not testify against a white person in court, preventing Asian Americans from prosecuting anti-Asian hate crimes.
And then, of course, there are the atrocious prejudices committed against Japanese Americans during World War II: from 1942 to 1945, more than 120,000 men, women and children were confined to internment camps without reason other than racial prejudice.
This imprisonment led to the dismantling of many innocent lives, while further exacerbating racial tensions.
Even today, deep-rooted prejudices are rife against people of Asian origin. At the start of the Covid-19 pandemic, heavily biased rhetoric about the origins of the virus catalyzed a rapid increase in anti-Asian hate crimes, with acts of harassment and violence inflicted on AAPI people of all ages and backgrounds. crops.
In response to this spike in racism and violence against AAPI groups, the AAPI Equity Alliance, Chinese for Affirmative Action, and the Department of Asian American Studies at San Francisco State University launched the Stop AAPI Hate Coalition. on March 19, 2020.
Meanwhile, in January 2021, the White House released a “Memorandum Condemning and Combating Racism, Xenophobia, and Intolerance Against Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders in the United States,” acknowledging their role in promoting xenophobic sentiments and proposing ways to prevent discrimination, harassment, bullying and hate crimes against AAPI individuals.
Despite the crimes against Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders, it is difficult to overstate the contributions these cultural groups have made to society.
Of course, Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders have contributed to their influence in America through a number of fields including pharmacy, engineering, fashion, art, and more.
However, the influence that Asian Americans have had on the American beauty industry, and the influence that they continue to have, should not be overlooked.
And in beauty, we’ve seen Asian American immigrants succeed as entrepreneurs for decades.
AAPI in Beauty
In 2022, we are witnessing Asian American business leaders who have propelled their brands to supernova status, to name a few: Vicky Tsai, Founder of Tatcha, Sara Lee and Christine Chang, Founders from Glow Recipe, Nikita Mehta, founder of Fable & Mane, and Amy Liu, founder of Tower 28.
But today we wanted to spotlight our very own founder, the one and only Susie Wang.
Susie Wang, Founder of 100% PURE
While studying as a freshman at UC Berkeley, Susie purchased an expensive vitamin C serum, only to find that the product had oxidized, rendering it unusable. After purchasing and testing a number of other serums, Susie found that each had the same problem.
Determined to find a solution, Susie worked between classes to develop a method of stabilizing vitamins to prevent oxidation – an invention she would soon have patented.
After working for several high-end luxury beauty companies, Susie became increasingly suspicious of the ingredients used in some of these products, which after her research revealed harmful potential. Plus, she uncovered the truth behind “cruelty-free” marketing, and how misleading it can be: While many brands claim they don’t test on animals, they often talk about their end product, not the ingredients with which they were made.
For Susie, it was the straw that broke the camel’s back to work for these companies, and it’s what caused her to quit each one. After that, she teamed up with her business partners Ric Kostick and (her brother) James Wang to create a company that would challenge the standards of toxic chemicals and cruel practices.
And in 2005, 100% PURE products were launched at Bath & Body Works. Today, the company has over 500 products, approximately 200 employees, 12 namesake (and growing) retail stores, and operates out of an 8-acre solar-powered headquarters in San Jose, PA. California, called “Purity Park”.
Today, Susie continues to develop innovative, effective and caring products. And through 100% PURE, we’re on a mission to provide the inclusion and representation each of us deserves, because beauty is so much more than what you put on your face.