AAPI Heritage Month 2021: 5 Ways you can make a difference (+ list of nonprofits to support)
“Defeating racism, tribalism, intolerance and all forms of discrimination will liberate us all, victim and perpetrator alike.”-
Former Secretary-General of the United Nations, Ban Ki-moon
Imagine living in constant fear of your neighbor.
Stepping out of your house every morning, worried for your safety or worse, for the safety of your family.
This is unfortunately the reality for the members of the AAPI (Asian American Pacific Islander) community. While hate crimes against the community have always existed, there has been an uptick in the amount of hate they have been subjected to, ever since the advent of the COVID-19 pandemic.
The term AAPI traditionally refers to Americans who have origins in the East, Southeast, the Indian subcontinent of Asia, or the Pacific islands.
Stop AAPI Hate, a non-profit organization formed in 2020 to track incidents of hate and discrimination against the AAPI community in the U.S., has created several reports that show how hate crimes against the community have increased drastically.
One report states that hate crimes against Asian-Americans in major U.S. cities grew nearly 150% in 2020, despite an overall decline in hate crimes by 7% last year.
Asian American Pacific Islander Heritage Month 2021
Ever since the idea of celebrating Asian Pacific Americans was conceptualized in the 1970s, the month of May has been dedicated to acknowledging the contributions of the AAPI community. AAPI heritage month 2021 is not just a month for the AAPI community to celebrate and educate, but also a time for all Americans to proactively participate, spread awareness, and educate themselves.
Allies are extremely important for any cause. As an ally, you can play a vital role in amplifying the voices of the AAPI community when they need it the most. In light of the rising crimes against the community last year, the focus for AAPI heritage month and beyond needs to be on urging Americans to find actionable ways to be allies to the community.
Whether you’re a member of the AAPI community or want to be an ally in the fight against Asian-American hate, you must take a stand and speak out against racism, whatever the situation.
At Goodera, we’ve always stood strong against discrimination and racial injustice. This AAPI heritage month, we want to help you inspire meaningful change and address the growing fear for the safety and security of the AAPI community.
5 things you can start doing now to support the AAPI community
Listed below are some of the many ways in which you can start supporting the community and create lasting change – as an individual, or as a corporate:
Reach out, listen
Like we’ve mentioned, it’s a difficult time for the AAPI community. More than anything, they need people to listen to their stories, stand with them in solidarity, and understand them for who they are. Listening to them is the easiest thing you can do.
Create a safe space for members of the community (in your neighborhood, your office, schools, etc.) and be open to listening to their perspectives and experiences. Engage in meaningful conversations that foster inclusion.
As an individual or as a corporate, here are a few ideas you can use to ignite conversation and elevate the diverse stories of AAPI community members:
- Reach out to the community members with an empathetic message.
- Listen with the aim of learning and helping.
- Raise awareness for the unheard AAPI voices.
- Show your support by committing your money, effort, or time.
Be consistent with your efforts towards educating yourself and others.
Support local AAPI businesses
Local businesses have taken a huge hit in the past year due to COVID-19. You can help resuscitate them in an individual capacity by visiting local businesses in your neighborhood (only if you can, in the current scenario), or by purchasing their products online.
If you’re a corporate looking to contribute, here are a few ideas you can actively pursue:
- Pledge to raise money towards a few selected local AAPI-led businesses that need it the most,
- Promote your efforts in supporting local businesses on social media, so that others in your network can join in if they want to.
- Conduct employee volunteering activities that enable your employees to mentor/support young business owners from the community.
Many individuals and brands make solidarity statements with the AAPI community. Solidarity statements can be the start, but they can’t be the end. They should be meaningfully translated into a real allyship.
Celebrate AAPI culture
The AAPI community in itself represents a treasure trove of unique cultures – each with its beautiful history, celebrations, language, and cuisines. The more you seek to understand, the more compassionate and empathetic you become.
Join celebrations of the community’s rich diversity through events such as this one, that Facebook has organized. In a personal capacity, you can use your social media and reach to spread awareness about the AAPI community and stand in solidarity with them.
Learning about new cultures is thrilling for most – sharing stories about the diverse AAPI traditions will ignite a sense of curiosity and wonder.
As a corporate, you can use this time to conduct awareness campaigns that are directed at educating your employees. Bring in an external speaker – a visionary from the AAPI community – for a webinar or an internal event, to talk about inclusion and diversity.
It’s easy to forget about other communities that coexist with us in the hustle and bustle of our work and life. But in times as extraordinary as now, camaraderie and support for each other is the only thing that will pull us through.
If you consider yourself a layman when it comes to knowledge about the AAPI community, it is time you start learning more about them. Here are some resources to get started:
- Stop AAPI Hate for reports on incidents of hate and discrimination against the AAPI community in the United States
- FAPAC’s resource center for detailed information about AAPI history, celebrations, events, and much more.
- NBC’s list of books that throw light on the unheard voices of the AAPI community.
- Smithsonian’s resources for interesting information about AAPI music, history, and culture
- Listenwise’s Podcasts that talk about AAPI world history, culture, identity, etc.
Volunteer or donate to nonprofits supporting AAPI communities
Several nonprofits work diligently to promote AAPI rights, education, and community development programs in the U.S. As an individual or as a corporate, you can do your bit to support these non-profits through virtual volunteering opportunities or donations.
As part of our AAPI heritage month celebration at Goodera, we engaged 100s of corporate volunteers at our clients’ with support from our nonprofit partners. Through team-based virtual volunteering activities, we engaged employees in empowering the AAPI community.
As part of a few team-based activities that we conducted, employee volunteers:
- Created a digital magazine to promote cultural consciousness,
- Recorded impact stories to break Asian-American stereotypes, and
- Created e-posters and flashcards to celebrate contributions made by members of the AAPI community.
- Recorded videos to inspire young girls from the AAPI community to code
If you want to engage your team through virtual volunteering opportunities, please get in touch with us.
If your nonprofit is looking for corporate volunteers, please reach out to us.
If you are looking for nonprofits that you can support directly, below is a good list.
10 nonprofits to support this AAPI heritage month and beyond
We’ve rounded up 10 nonprofits that serve and empower the AAPI community all year round. Consider supporting one of these visionary organizations that work diligently to promote AAPI rights, education, and community development programs in the U.S.
- Ascend: Ascend is a Pan-Asian organization for business professionals in North America that enables professional development and career enhancement for its beneficiaries. With a network that connects over 60,000 business professionals, Ascend cultivates Pan-Asian talent through its programs for students and professionals. This AAPI heritage month, Ascend will be spotlighting events, news, testimonies, and more.
- Asian American Government Executives Network (AAGEN): AAGEN is an organization that strives to promote diversity and inclusion within the government by mentoring government leaders who are from the AAPI community. One-to-one mentoring and development programs enable these individuals with the skills and motivation necessary to become strong leaders in the federal workforce.
- Asian American Journalists Association (AAJA): AAJA promotes diversity in news, coverage, and newsletter by encouraging young people to consider journalism as a career and promoting fair, accurate news coverage. In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, AAJA has offered space listening sessions, compiled a list of mental health resources, and established the AAPI Journalists Mental Health Fund.
- The Center for Asian Pacific American Women: CAPAW is a nonprofit organization that expands leadership activity, fosters awareness of AAPI issues, creates a supportive environment for women, and strengthens the community. This month, CAPAW is focusing on entrepreneurs and restaurant owners working in the Asian restaurant industry, who were affected by the pandemic
- Federal Asian Pacific American Council: FAPAC represents Asian American and Pacific Islander (AAPI) employees in the Federal and District of Columbia governments and promotes equal opportunity and cultural diversity for over 30 ethnically distinct groups originating from the AAPI community.
- Korean American Coalition (KAC): The Korean American Coalition advocates for Korean-American participation in civic, legislative, and community affairs. They do this with civic engagement, alternative dispute resolution and leadership programs, and much more. Over the last 38 years, KAC has assisted over 40,200 immigrants to become U.S. citizens and registered voters.
- National Association of Asian American Professionals): NAAAP is an all-volunteer organization whose mission is to promote the personal and professional development of the Asian-American community. This year, NAAAP is promoting the ‘Together as One’ campaign that unifies people of all backgrounds, to create an anti-racist, cohesive society. They are doing this by organizing webinars, mentor sessions, sharing stories of AAPI community members and so much more.
- U.S. Pan Asian American Chamber of Commerce: USPAACC is the largest non-profit organization representing AAPI and their related groups in business, sciences, the arts, sports, education, public and community services. Their programs focus on the education, advocacy, and innovation of the AAPI community. For AAPI heritage month this year, USPAACC is sharing the milestones it achieved.
- Asian Americans Advancing Justice – Asian Law Caucus: Asian Americans Advancing Justice – Asian Law Caucus is the first legal and civil rights organization in the U.S. serving low-income AAPI communities. AAJC-ALC has a vast number of programs focused on immigrant rights, housing rights, voting rights, etc. ALC works to create educated communities empowered to assert their rights and to participate in American society, actively.
- Show and Heal: Show and Heal aims to build community resilience through education, advocacy, inclusion, and social justice. When COVID-19 hit, they transformed their in-person after-school program into an online support system, which consists of mental health counselors, teachers, and students checking in to express their concerns, fears, and feelings during the pandemic.
What are you doing to support the AAPI community?
According to a Stop AAPI Hate report, more than 3,000 cases of anti-Asian violence and harassment have been reported since COVID-19 began. This represents only a subset of the total cases, as many hate crimes often go unreported.
We need to come together – as individuals, corporates, and nonprofits – to do our part in supporting the AAPI community. We must rise together and create a world that is equal and fair to all. If you’re a nonprofit that would like to help us drive this mission, please reach out to us.
Will today be the day you as a corporate take a stand and reaffirm your allyship with the AAPI community? Stand with us, let’s get started.
Happy Asian American Pacific Islander heritage month from all of us at Goodera!