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How to Take Action against Anti-Asian Racism | Resources for Leaders

March 24, 2021 Deana LaFauci

The fatal shooting of eight people in Atlanta last week, including six Asian women, has put a focus on calls to end Anti-Asian racism.

Violence and racist harassment against Asian Americans have been increasing. Stop AAPI Hate, a national coalition documenting and addressing anti-Asian discrimination during the pandemic, said it received 3,795 self-reports of anti-Asian hate incidents between March 2020 and last month.

Most critically, we must consider this topic through an intersectional lens: Women are more likely to be targeted, and accounted for 68% of the reports versus 29% for men.

Leaders have a responsibility to meaningfully engage in this topic, to educate themselves, and to provide the support their teams and organizations need at a critical time. Here are four ways that leaders can act against anti-Asian racism and drive positive change in their organizations:

1. Donate to causes that will have a direct, beneficial impact on the community.

Identify organizations and donate to them or support them in other ways to drive impact in your community. Many news sources have identified organizations to donate to, including the following:

In addition, seek out local organizations in your own town or community that directly benefit your neighbors and coworkers, to further multiply the impact of your donation and reach a local population.

2. Reach out in meaningful ways—but educate yourself first.

Leaders can reach out to Asian colleagues, friends and family members to check in on them and offer support. Before you do, be proactive and educate yourself on the history of anti-Asian bias and racism, and purposefully read up on news, history lessons, and expert analysis on trends, so that you can act as a true ally. There are many organizations that have collected relevant news stories and analysis to get you started on this learning journey.

PBS: “Asian Americans” | Asian Americans is a five-hour film series that chronicles the contributions and challenges of Asian Americans, the fastest-growing ethnic group in America. Personal histories and new academic research cast a fresh lens on US history and the role Asian Americans have played in it.


When you do reach out to colleagues, refrain from asking “How are you feeling?” or other open-ended questions, as these questions put the onus on them to communicate to you. Instead, provide an actionable and digestible conversation starter, such as: “What is happening right now is stressful. Can I help you with anything workwise?” And, you can directly ask your colleagues if they would like to talk, and offer to make yourself available to them if they are interested.

Remember that your leadership role also means that you should reach out to all employees and colleagues, including those not in the Asian community, to show your understanding of the topic and showcase the resources available to the entire organization.

3. Use your leadership to acknowledge bias and privilege.

Managers and organizational leaders have an important opportunity to use their privilege to acknowledge the recent news of anti-Asian violence. By speaking publicly and writing on this topic, leaders give space for impacted individuals to process the news, grieve, and heal as a community. Recommit to your own leadership journey and the path to acting in anti-racist ways, instead of being passively supportive.

4. Get the right training so you can be an active ally.

Hollaback! is an organization that works to end harassment, and they have partnered with Asian Americans Advancing Justice to offer free bystander intervention trainings, which are designed to aid Asian and Asian American communities. You can sign up for these trainings now, in addition to conflict de-escalation training.

Stop AAPI Hate offers multilingual resources for those who experience or witness AAPI hate incidents to report it to the group.


Additional resources leaders can reference:


Anti-racism resources

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