Petition update

We Made It!

Sung Un Gang

Jul 19, 2019 — 

Hi everyone,

I’m Sung Un. Earlier this year I started the petition to stop the racist and sexist ad campaign of the German DIY chain Hornbach. Today I declare the end of the petition and want to express my gratitude to all of you. Thank you for your support and action. You made the change.

Through our action, we could stop the advertisement in Germany and Romania. The advertisement standards committees of both countries took the criticisms of the commercial seriously, which made the company to cease the ad earlier than it was originally planned. Meanwhile, advertising committees of the Czech Republic, the Netherlands, and Austria did not see any problem in the ad campaign, allowing the company to show the commercial. These decisions will remain as a part of the shameful history of anti-Asian and misogynic discriminations in these countries.

We will remember these decisions and keep raising our voices. We will also remember that Albrecht Hornbach, the chairman and founder’s successor of the company, personally defended his PR managers who planned and ran the advertisement; even after the German Advertisement Standards Committee clearly expressed its concerns about the ad being racist and discriminatory.

What began as a small hashtag campaign and petition became one of the most discussed Asian and Asian-European citizens’ movements in the recent history of Germany. We know that allegedly harmless jokes about our appearances and wrongful representations of our cultures do fuel and encourage racist and misogynic attacks we face. We share painful experiences of discriminations that challenge us every day and still believe that we deserve respect. We gathered together because we wanted to provide the next generation of Asian-European people, particularly Asian-European women, with a better society to live in. We are proud to have broken the silence and fought together across national, ethnic, and linguistic borders—for the dignity of Asians and Asian-Europeans.

We did not end discriminations against Asian-looking people and women for good. However, now we are connected and know how to fight back the racism and sexism. And we have a small history of our own, too. You Sun Song’s beautiful infographic shows how we have been fighting. We know where to start next time. We grew stronger together.

It took me for a while to find proper words to say thank you and to end the petition. I will put it this way: It was you who gave me a voice and shared your thoughts and emotions so that I could carry on. Every spring, I will remember the spring of 2019 and how we fought together. We broke the silence and we will never return to the voiceless place where we were put into.

Thank you and take care.

Yours sincerely,

Sung Un

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