by Cheryl Fields Tyler — Founder and CEO of Blue Beyond Consulting
As we seek to learn more about the fatal shootings in Atlanta this week, one thing is clear: we must not ignore the escalating levels of violence and hatred towards people of Asian and Pacific Islander descent in our country.
Anti-Asian stereotyping and racism have occurred for centuries, and more recently, increasingly hostile rhetoric has been repeatedly amplified throughout the COVID pandemic – including by notable media personalities and people in national leadership. This has only served to fan the flames of this insidious prejudice.
A new report by Stop AAPI Hate released Tuesday — the same day that eight people, six of them Asian women, were fatally shot at three Atlanta-area spas — revealed that the organization had received 3,795 hate incidents since the pandemic started, and that more than two thirds of them were directed at women. In addition, the organization said these incidents represent “only a fraction of the number of hate incidents that actually occur” because many go unreported. Russell Jeung, the organization’s co-founder, has said women have always faced harassment from men and public safety issues in general but that the pandemic has provided another excuse for people to target Asian women.
Many business leaders and companies have begun to issue statements of outrage and support — but that is not enough. We have a moral obligation to work individually and collectively to leverage our power and our privilege to eradicate racism and fight for racial justice.
Take action. Consider what you can do to support Asian American and Pacific Islander colleagues and friends, learn about bystander intervention, report an incident, donate to make a difference and support Asian American-owned businesses. Create the space and time to listen to the experience of your colleagues who experience systemic racism and prejudice. Ensure your managers are equipped and accountable for creating truly diverse and inclusive teams. Direct your corporate philanthropy to organizations that are actively working to eradicate and remedy racism. And perhaps, most importantly, role model the learning and unlearning you need to do to show up in word and deed as an antiracist leader.