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Social change agency nominated in three categories for industry’s highest accolades 


New York, NY — Fenton Communications, one of the country’s leading public interest communications firms, today announced it was named “best in nonprofit” at the 2022 PRWeek Awards for its ongoing work with Stop AAPI Hate. This award, announced on the anniversary of the devastating shooting in Atlanta, acknowledges the significance of this year for the Asian American and Pacific Islander community and recognizes the firm’s work as being the most transformative in the industry. 

“The hate and harassment experienced by the AAPI community on a daily basis is a national crisis,” said Valarie De La Garza, CEO of Fenton. “On this difficult and painful anniversary, Fenton is honored to partner with Stop AAPI Hate to respond to xenophobia and bigotry. We thank Manjusha Kulkarni, Cynthia Choi, Russell Jeong, and the entire Stop AAPI Hate team for entrusting us with this crucial work — the fight will not end until discrimination against AAPIs ends.”  

“Asian Americans demand and deserve a national reckoning of the racism we face,” said Ujala Sehgal, vice president at Fenton who leads this account. “We’re proud to partner with Stop AAPI Hate in the fight to ensure AAPI experiences are recognized, solutions are realized, and all communities of color can thrive without fear of hate and discrimination.”

On the one-year anniversary of the shooting in Atlanta where eight people were killed — six of them Asian women — Fenton remembers the victims, their families and the broader AAPI community, and recommits to fighting racism. This includes pushing to bring visibility to AAPI experiences, increase investments in AAPI communities, and expand education. 

From the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, AAPIs faced increased hate and discrimination, fueled in part by the Trump administration’s racist and xenophobic rhetoric and policies. The Stop AAPI Hate coalition was established in March 2020 to track and document hate incidents against the AAPI community. Shortly after its founding, Stop AAPI Hate came to Fenton to partner on strategic communications. The coalition needed to build public awareness of the anti-AAPI racism sparked by these circumstances — and then actively work to address it. 

Through strategic conversations, messaging and media analysis, Fenton built the communications infrastructure Stop AAPI Hate needed as a newly-formed coalition. As Stop AAPI Hate’s thought partner, the agency actively built up the coalition’s reputation within the national media and put them on the radar of key leaders and policymakers. This included positioning and framing Stop AAPI Hate’s data reports, which documented the number of reported incidents against AAPIs across the country, as well as continuously identifying opportunities to raise Stop AAPI Hate’s voice and monitor ways to combat racist narratives and rhetoric against the AAPI community.

Since the start of Stop AAPI Hate’s engagement with Fenton, Stop AAPI Hate has led the national conversation on anti-AAPI racism. The organization was able to successfully advocate for California Governor Gavin Newsom to adopt the API Equity Budget to address racial inequities and invest in AAPI communities. It forcefully responded to the spate of violent incidents targeting AAPIs, and advocated for victim and survivor support and measures to protect all communities of color.

Stop AAPI Hate co-founders, Cynthia Choi, Manjusha Kulkarni and Russell Jeung have been named to the 2021 TIME100 annual list of the 100 most influential people in the world as they continue to be the leading force in the AAPI movement for racial equity. 

In addition to winning “best in nonprofit” at the PRWeek Awards, Fenton was named a finalist for “best in public sector” for its work with the Los Angeles County Registrar-Recorder’s get-out-the-vote campaign during the 2020 election and “best mid-sized agency of the year.” 

Over the past several years — through the ongoing pandemic, a pivotal election season, and challenges to democracy through voter and Census participation suppression — Fenton’s diverse clients looked to the firm for leadership and partnership in using communications to advance social change. The firm led multiple campaigns to increase voter turnout during one of the most consequential presidential elections in history, fought against voter suppression on the local, state and federal level, helped clients elevate their positioning as leaders in racial equity and social justice during the country’s ongoing racial reckoning, and centered nurses as the nation’s symbols of the most essential of workers in the urgent call for personal protective equipment (PPE) during the pandemic’s darkest days. 

Fenton is continuing to build on this momentum — the agency has over 80 staff members, is working on more than 120 active projects, and continues to rapidly grow.  Last year, the firm welcomed Valarie De La Garza as its new CEO — she is the first woman and person of color to hold this position in the firm’s 40-year history. 



At Fenton, we are communications strategists for social change. Our clients are the nonprofits, foundations, advocates and brands that tackle challenges in social, racial and economic justice, human rights, public health, voting rights, education, climate change and more. We create integrated communications and advocacy campaigns that raise awareness, spark movements, change behavior and generate support for those working to create a just, equitable and sustainable world.