For the past year, Asian communities across Canada and the U.S. have been sounding the alarm on the increase in violence across their communities. Organizations have a critical role to play to support their team members. They must act quickly and keep a pulse on the evolving needs of their team members and the Asian community to allow people to heal, and work to prevent violence from being perpetrated in the future.
As always, we must continue to be intersectional in our efforts to combat such forms of inequity and violence. As we witnessed with the murders of Xiaojie “Emily” Tan, Daoyou Feng, Delaina Ashley Yaun Gonzalez, Paul Andre Michels, Soon Chung Park, Hyun Jung Kim Grant, Suncha Kim, and Yong Ae Yue, “race” issues are also deeply connected to gender inequity, misogyny, whorephobia, socioeconomic status, and more.
This means that when engaging with team members, we must reflect on the vast diversity of experiences included in the term “Asian.” Treating the Asian community, their experiences, and their needs as a monolith is hurtful and ignores the vast majority of issues people face. We encourage people to be specific when participating in these dialogues because the language we use matters.
We suggest that organizations learn about the history of anti-Asian discrimination in the workplace to help dismantle it. Policies and attitudes from the U.S. and Canada’s imperial past (and present) affect labour and immigration laws today and influence how Asian people are viewed by governments, organizations, and people. Understanding how these systems work and their impact is critical to identifying inequity and solving problems.
We must consider these histories in our present-day activism and design solutions in collaboration with Asian people and Asian-led organizations.