By Bernie Wong, Manager of Research & Design at Mind Share Partners
This article was originally published on Forbes.
I haven’t always felt close to the American Asian and Pacific Islander community (hereon “AAPIs”). Maybe it was being raised in a predominantly white neighborhood with enough AAPIs at school to form a social clique, but not enough to avoid being called “those Asians.” Or maybe it was being gay and overhearing mixed reception from your fellow AAPIs about Prop 8—a California proposition that denied same-sex couples marriage rights in 2008.
Still, centering historically underrepresented voices—including AAPIs’—has been a driving principle in my work around workplace mental health at Mind Share Partners. However, the recent targeted, yet indiscriminate, violence against AAPIs—a Filipino man's face slashed in New York City; a Thai elder murdered in San Francisco; six AAPI women killed in Atlanta—sends a resounding message not only to myself, but also to AAPI professionals and the community at large. You can be “quiet,” you can be “assimilated,” you can be the alleged picturesque “model minority.” It doesn’t matter whether you or I feel close to our community. We are still, in their eyes, “those Asians.”
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It can be easy for companies to say, “not us,” pointing to their AAPI Heritage Month activities or “diversity” by mere employment as evidence of equity. Yet among the 3,800 anti-Asian hate acts reported by the advocacy organization Stop AAPI Hate since the start of