With COVID-19 Racist Attacks On the Rise, Teach For America’s National Community Alliances Vice President Sarah Ha Joins Fight Against Bullying in the Asian American and Pacific Islander Community
Ha Joins Advisory Council of AAPI Anti-Bullying Nonprofit During Time of Increased Xenophobia
As COVID-19 has spread across the United States, so have reports of racist attacks against people of Asian descent. At this critical time, anti-bullying nonprofit Act To Change is pleased to announce that Sarah Ha, Vice President of National Community Alliances at Teach For America (TFA), joins its inaugural Advisory Council. Act To Change, which became a nonprofit in 2018, aims to prevent bullying in the Asian American and Pacific Islander (AAPI) community. It is co-founded by actor, activist, and children’s book author (The Best At It) Maulik Pancholy.
“We are thrilled to have Sarah Ha join Act To Change’s Advisory Council. Since our start, Sarah has been a huge supporter of our mission to end bullying in the Asian American and Pacific Islander community,” says Pancholy. “With a rise in bullying and hate crimes across the country amid COVID-19, our work is more important now than ever. With Sarah’s deep background in and passion for educational equity and building diverse coalitions, she will continue to be an exceptional partner in our movement to ensure all AAPI youth are safe and feel proud of who they are.”
Says Ha, “As someone who was bullied as a child, I’ve experienced firsthand how bullying can impact the physical, mental, social, and emotional development and well-being of children that can last into adulthood. Bullying is a pervasive problem in our nation’s schools. It has significant consequences for everyone: those who are bullied, those who bully, and those who witness bullying. It’s up to all of us to ensure that students feel safe and supported at school, online, and in our communities. I’m thrilled to work with Act To Change to co-create brave and safe spaces where every child feels seen, heard, and affirmed for who they are and also feel an authentic sense of responsibility and accountability towards each other, especially the most marginalized amongst us.”
Ha’s first official engagement will be this Friday, April 17, in Act To Change’s second COVID-19 CONVOS: Rising Above Bullying and Hate, a series of virtual conversations to support parents, educators, youth, and community members amid the rise in racist incidents during the COVID-19 pandemic. Moderated by Pancholy, the conversation will also feature actor and producer Randall Park (Always Be My Maybe, Fresh Off the Boat).
Act To Change initially launched in 2015 as a public awareness campaign under President Obama’s White House Initiative on Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders. Since its launch, the nonprofit has organized multiple nationwide events, including a Los Angeles-based Strength in Solidarity Youth Conference last May sponsored by Teach For America; led the first-ever national AAPI Day Against Bullying and Hate with participation from major cities and organizations throughout the country; and collaborated with celebrities, research groups, and leaders across all sectors to grow awareness about the need for bullying prevention.
As Vice President of National Community Alliances at TFA, Ha is responsible for driving the organization’s external engagement strategy with national civil rights and aligned organizations, leading and working alongside a team of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion senior leaders who manage the AAPI Community Alliances, Black Community Alliances, DACA Initiative, Latinx Community Alliances, LGBTQ+ Community Initiative, and Native Alliances. Her team collectively works to bring the intersectional partnerships, advocacy, resources, and opportunities to further cultivate the skills and mindsets necessary for systems change in their networks to shape a child-centric educational equity ecosystem.
Sarah has over 15 years of experience working in multicultural affairs, conducting research on the educational experiences of underrepresented and underserved students in higher education and implementing diversity, equity, and inclusion programming and initiatives. Before coming to Teach For America, Sarah served as the Senior Director of Programs and Student Affairs at the Gates Millennium Scholars (GMS) Program and APIA Scholars (formerly known as the Asian & Pacific Islander American Scholarship Fund (APIASF)) in Washington, DC. Prior to that, Sarah worked in the Office of the Dean of Students at the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA), the UCLA LGBT Campus Resource Center, and served as an Intergroup Dialogue Facilitator dedicated to creating inclusive, affirming, and diverse campus environments.