ACT TO CHANGE // ASIAN PACIFIC AMERICAN HERITAGE MONTH (APAHM) EMPLOYEE RESOURCE GROUP (ERG) ENGAGEMENT GUIDE
WHO WE ARE
Act To Change is a national 501(c)(3) nonprofit working to end bullying among Asian American and Pacific Islander (AAPI) youth. We envision a world where all youth have the opportunity to grow up feeling proud and supported in their identities.
Our interdisciplinary approach spans education, public health, and civil rights. We’re working to equip youth, educators, parents and caregivers with the tools they need to deal with bullying — especially in the AAPI community. We believe that, together, by providing support, building strong coalitions, and changing education and policies, we can end bullying.
HOW TO USE THIS GUIDE
On May 18, 2019 — in honor of the birthday of Vincent Chin, whose murder in a hate crime in 1982 sparked a national uprising, Act To Change created the first-ever National AAPI Day Against Bullying and Hate with the support of elected officials, business leaders, nonprofit and community grassroots organizations. In 2020, our commemoration received the support of 20 participating cities and states and nearly 200 partner organizations. The virtual program United We Stand garnered 50,000+ views.
As we approach May 18, 2021, we’re conscious of how much our community is in need of healing, joy, and justice. With nearly 3,000 hate incidents against Asian Americans reported in the last year, we hope to help you and your ERG use not only our program, but also the entire month of May as an opportunity to center and energize ourselves and our community.
Throughout the rest of this document, you’ll find frameworks, ideas, and resources to help you and your ERG plan how you want to approach APAHM. We recognize that not everyone will be able to participate in live events, including our May 18 livestream, and so we’ve also included guidance on asynchronous ways to connect. Of course, you know your community best, and we encourage you to tailor and adjust as you see fit for your needs.
NATIONAL AAPI DAY AGAINST BULLYING AND HATE
REGISTER and TUNE IN at acttochange.org/2021DayAgainstBullying.
With May 18 falling on a Tuesday this year, we recommend ERGs advocate through/with their executive sponsors for all employees (not just AAPI folks) to have protected time during the workday to watch the program live. If this is not possible, the recording will be available on Facebook and YouTube immediately after the event. This can be particularly helpful for global organizations with employees distributed across multiple time zones.
During the event, there will be a public chat that we encourage all attendees to participate in. However, we also believe that ERGs can leverage our event as a community-builder, and setting up a designated channel in Slack, Microsoft Teams, or another messaging app can be a powerful way to bring employees together to react and celebrate.
APAHM ORGANIZING FRAMEWORKS
Consider using the three objectives of Educate, Celebrate, and Activate to anchor your planning for APAHM. Every project or event should tie back to one or more of these three core objectives, and all three should be balanced across your APAHM work to avoid marginalizing or excluding AAPI employees who may be seeking a particular connection to their community. For example, planning an entire month of speaker events around AAPI history may make an incredible learning experience (educate), it will not satisfy those who are seeking opportunities to find joy in community, or those who wish to contribute tangibly to the ongoing movement to address anti-Asian racism.
Below, we’ve listed a handful of examples of an event or project associated with each objective.
- Invite guest speaker(s) with expertise in diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI), AAPI history, and racial justice to speak and facilitate learning for all employees
- Host a listening session for AAPI employees to share their experiences in and outside of work for leaders and non-API employees
- Create identity-specific intersectional spaces for employees to connect with one another (e.g. API & LGBTQIA+, API and Parents, etc.) Consider partnering with other ERGs within the organization, or even with AAPI ERGs from other organizations.
- Create a spotlight series to introduce and highlight AAPI employees, particularly those who may not have as much visibility due to their team or level.
- Share recipes and photos of beloved foods and dishes from diverse AAPI cultures. Consider extending into a cooking challenge, or class.
- Organize a movie (or k-drama!) night featuring AAPI stories and entertainers.
- Organize a company donation or employee donation matching program to benefit national and local AAPI community organizations. We believe in supporting local organizations whenever possible, as they typically receive less attention and visibility than national peers.
- Host a Bystander Intervention Training with Hollaback! and Asian Americans Advancing Justice | AAJC, or invite a guest speaker/ trainer with expertise in activism, advocacy, and civic engagement/community organizing. Act to Change is happy to support you in referring you to personal contacts in our DEI and nonprofit policy/advocacy networks.
- Partner with DEI/HR/People teams to conduct an audit of API employees’ experiences in the organization, with particular focus around performance evaluation, promotion, and retention.
DIVERSITY, EQUITY, INCLUSION (DEI)
Working within the Asian and API community comes with unique challenges particularly around diversity, equity, and inclusion. We encourage you and your ERG leaders to be thoughtful and reflective about creating programming that speaks to all folks who identify as API. This includes all the racial and ethnic identities across Asia and the Pacific Islands, as well as adoptees, multi-racial folks, and children of multi-generational immigrant families who may not all share the same cultural background or lived experiences.
We’ve found it best to be upfront and proactively name it when our diversity doesn’t match the true diversity of our community, and to acknowledge that these conversations need to happen not just during May, but during the rest of the year as well. We also recommend that organizers and leaders allow and encourage AAPI employees to opt out of any events that may not serve their needs. Not only do we all have different experiences that shape our connection to the AAPI identities, but it has also been a particularly painful and difficult time for our community in recent months.
Can we still join Act To Change as a sponsor or partner for May 18’s National Day Against Bullying and Hate?
Absolutely! Please reach out to us at email@example.com. We’re also always looking for new partners on future events, and welcome new connections all the time!
Is Act To Change available to come speak to my ERG/company?
Yes! We are staffed by an all-volunteer Board of Directors who are all leaders across government, law, education, nonprofits, and consulting. We frequently speak about our work on supporting AAPI youth in a variety of spaces, and we’d love to talk with you about what you’re looking for. You can email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Do you have recommendations for guest speakers for some of the ideas you listed above?
We do, and we’re also excited that there is a growing community of AAPI leaders across ERGs and industries that could help you. We always recommend starting with asking your own networks within your ERGs for connections, but if you need more, we recommend reaching out to our friends at Gold House and the Asian Leaders Alliance.
How do we stay in touch with all the work that Act to Change is up to?