Solidarity with the API Community: What Comes After the Statement?

By Molly McInerney, Senior Consultant

We at DeEtta Jones & Associates (DJA) are horrified and heartbroken by the rising rates of hate crimes, racist violence and harassment, and discrimination against members of the Asian Pacific Islander (API) community. We are committed to the racial equity movement for all people of color and condemn racism in any form. We believe stating our support of the API community is a single step on the journey towards solidarity. We honor the API community’s pain, anger, and grief in the wake of Tuesday’s racist attack, which took the lives of eight people, including six Asian/Asian American women working in the greater Atlanta area. 

We are a company known for centering voices from a variety of lived experiences, and we’re sensitive to the negative impact of organizational virtue signaling on the API community and other people of color. This is why we ask ourselves in these critical moments, “what is the best way to enact sustained, tangible change in the service of racial equity?”, and so we turn to our DJA values to guide our decision: having a growth mindset, modeling what we want to see in the world, and having the integrity to do what we say we will do. As a result, DeEtta Jones & Associates aims to support the API community beyond this period of heightened awareness through our collective expertise and experience in helping leaders and organizations examine the equity, diversity, and inclusivity of their systems, structures, people, and culture.

We believe that leaders can use their words to inspire and build momentum towards change, and through our unique roles as trusted advisors and consultants to leaders across a wide variety of industries, we are compelled to ask these tough questions: “what happens after the statement?”, and more specifically, “how do you build credibility as an anti-Asian racism ally when the attention shifts to another story?” over the next few weeks or months. DJA knows organizational change like this takes time, is incredibly complex, and requires strategic thinking, so to help leaders envision another way to respond to anti-Asian racism, we created this table to illustrate examples of good work that should continue to happen, along with some new ideas on how to show their commitment beyond individual or episodic acts of solidarity. 


Go Beyond 

Releasing statement of support for the API community 

Release statements of support for your organization’s API employees 

Donating to organizations like Stop Asian Hate and Stop AAPI Hate 

Fund organizations and causes that have personal connections to your API employees (e.g., smaller grassroots operations)

Learning about API history: the triumphant events and the tragic experiences 

Learn about the “model minority” myth and challenge how you perpetuate stereotypical mental models

Explicitly calling out anti-Asian racism and respecting the specificity of a group’s trauma 

Avoid positioning API employees in “us” and “them” situations or language

Asking for direct feedback on how to best support API employees 

Approach API employees for feedback when they aren’t under emotional duress, or they can decline to offer feedback without any follow-up questions 

Increasing representation of API employees in your organization 

Support API leaders and help them build a platform and resources to enact change 

Building organizational awareness about anti-Asian racism from your API employees’ experiences 

Hire a trained professional who can provide information and guidance for employees who are starting their learning journey 

Making “safe” and “brave” spaces for your API employees to express their feelings and concerns 

Shut down any discussions or debate about whether API-only spaces are examples of preferential treatment 

Staying up to date with the latest news and statistics about hate crimes against the API community 

Connect the dots and be proactive in organizational support (e.g. if there’s an uptick in harassment on public transportation, help API employees with alternatives)

Discussing anti-Asian racism in the workplace through employee resource groups or in reading groups 

Mitigate bias against API employees who don’t want to participate and teach their co-workers 

Making noteworthy decisions to bring attention to your organization’s commitment to anti-Asian racism

Resource ongoing, wide-spread, and incremental changes across your organization to address systemic inequities 

Celebrating API heritage month in May

Acknowledge and amplify the contributions, talent, and culture of API communities all year round 

Offering self-care resources like meditation apps to help API employees manage their stress and trauma

Offer to help API employees with their work/life balance, manage their workloads, or make it possible to take PTO 

Sharing the organization’s at-large progress towards anti-Asian racism goals and initiatives 

Confirm if your API employees agree with the accuracy of your measurements of success 

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