AsiaKai Dang Combines Her Education and Identity to Combat Hate
When an Extra gum commercial featuring two teenagers falling in love moved her to tears at age 16, AsiaKai Dang ’19 knew she wanted to create meaningful content that affected people. Six years later, the advertising major is helping promote a monumental campaign against hate targeting her community.
Dang is a copywriter at Get Social with Teja (GSWT), a social media agency focusing on digital activism and social justice work that positively impacts Black and brown communities. The company teams with clients like Rock the Vote and She the People to influence and educate young people to be civically engaged through easy-to-understand graphics and digestible information.
GSWT’s latest client is the See Us Unite campaign, a nod to May being Asian American and Pacific Islander (AAPI) Heritage Month. Created in response to the spike in discrimination and violence against the AAPI community, the initiative aims to raise awareness, broaden education and celebrate the culture and achievements of Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders in our country.
The cause is personal for Dang, who is Vietnamese American.
“Being Asian and a model minority has its own difficulties,” she said. “Seeing us in different roles — as directors, as astronauts, in all sorts of fields — that’s how you break up stereotypes and change things. I’m really happy to be a part of that.”
The 22-year-old’s work with GSWT falls at a crossroads of her advertising education, politically driven nature and desire for equity — which led to a women’s and gender studies minor — and personal identity. It’s a dream job she didn’t expect to land until several years post-graduation, if at all.
“It was really important for me to have impactful work while using my degree and being creative every day,” she said. “I get to write witty, punchy copy that goes on social media. We make memes and stuff, but they’re for a purpose.”
GSWT is a fully remote company comprised of women of color, providing a unique and empowering work environment for Dang and her colleagues.
“We’ve all experienced some discrimination for being women or minorities, but my Latina coworker has experienced things differently than I have,” she shared. “Being able to hold these conversations with each other about our identity and experiences is obviously very important to our work. I feel so much more heard, understood and connected to all of my coworkers.”
The road to the perfect role wasn’t without bumps; Dang applied for so many jobs. Graduating from Bradley as the coronavirus pandemic began sweeping the world meant that she — like many of her peers — struggled to find a position, but she refused to stop pursuing her goal.
“I feel like if I can serve as any lesson, it’s to just stick to it,” she said. “If you love something, you’re going to naturally be good at it. Just keep chasing after it and you’ll find the right fit.”
- Wendy Vinglinsky