Supporting Asian American and Pacific Islanders
As the month of May comes to a close, we want to make sure to acknowledge May is Asian Pacific Islander Heritage Month, a celebration of the cultural and historic contributions to society by Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders, (AAPI) in the United States.
While the purpose of AAPI month is to celebrate the culture and traditions of Asian American and Pacific Islanders, we feel it’s especially important to acknowledge the inequities and violence the AAPI community continues to experience.
Incidents of Anti-Asian hate crimes have increased in cities across America. Anti-Asian hate crimes in 16 of America’s largest cities increased by 149% last year, according to the Center for the Study of Hate and Extremism. Seattle made that list, reporting an 11% increase in overall hate crimes committed against members of the AAPI community.
What You Can Do as a Bystander
As a society, we must do better.
As womxn leaders in state government, ICSEW feels it is our collective responsibility to stand in solidarity and offer support to members of our AAPI community as allies. We encourage you to join us in this effort. We must do more to break down long-standing barriers caused by systemic racism and call out actions that fuel racism in our society.
State agencies and organizations are taking steps to do this.
Throughout the month, many state employees who are also representatives on ICSEW attended a series of bystander intervention trainings focusing on strategies people can take in public settings to intervene effectively as a bystander against anti-Asian acts of violence. The Department of Enterprise Services in partnership with the Washington Immigrant Network business resource group put on the workshops, with Joanne Lee, a human resource consultant with the Department of Enterprise Services.
She shared her own story as an immigrant from the Philippines to America and also shared real anticdotal stories from state employees who are part of the AAPI community. One was also a heartbreaking story submitted from a state employee who left his previous job as an uber driver after experiencing harassment because he said he was Chinese and said the passenger blamed him for the coronavirus pandemic.
These incidents happen far too often. One way bystanders can help is through intervention. The WIN/DES trainings are based on the ihollaback.org to stop Anti-Asian American and xenophobic harassment. These trainings are virtual, frequent, and free. We encourage you to take one of them if you can.
We also encourage you to learn about the work state agencies, and community organizations are doing to combat anti-Asian harassment. Here are some resources shared at the WIN/DES bystander intervention course that support the AAPI community.
The Washington State Commission on Asian Pacific American Affairs has an advisory board of commissioners whose mission is to improve lives of Asian Pacific Americans.
The commission has a list of resources including a guide to help you report hate and discrimination incidents targeted against members of the AAPI community. To learn more about the history of AAPI community members, visit: https://aatimeline.com/. This timeline covers nearly 600 years of historic events that have affected people across racial boundaries.
- National Asian Pacific Center on Aging National Resource Center
- Filipino Community of Seattle
- Seattle Chinatown/ID Preservation and Development Authority
- Japanese Cultural and Community Center of Washington
- Chinese Information and Service Center (CISC) – Seattle
- Korean Community Service Center of Washington
- India Association of Western Washington
- Hmong Association of Washington
- Kandelia (formerly Vietnamese Friendship Association)
- Asian Pacific Directors Coalition
- Organization of Chinese Americans Greater Seattle Chapter
- Asian Pacific American Islanders for Civic Empowerment
- Asian Pacific Islander Community Leadership Foundation
--ICSEW Executive Board