Update as of 6/10/20: After further research and news on Campaign Zero, including leadership changes and recent statements from the organization, and learning from different perspectives on their campaign #8CantWait, half of the donation match from Julie is changing to The Movement for Black Lives, and the other half will still go to the NAACP Legal Defense Fund.
The horrific recent events surrounding the deaths of George Floyd, Ahmaud Arbery, and Breonna Taylor, among many other injustices against the African American community, have made the following clear: Black lives are valued unequally, and we have work to do to build an equitable society for all.
TAP-NY stands in solidarity with the African American community and, as a board of individuals, seeks to take a more active, anti-racist stance and encourage you all to do the same. Let us be clear: we have no tolerance for racism or discrimination of any kind. What we saw in the George Floyd case was a violation of the fundamental human right to life. Justice must be delivered to the officers involved in his death, and this includes the Asian American officer. We need to speak out against all forms of injustices, even when they are brought on by someone from the Asian community. Doing nothing in the presence of injustice will only perpetuate an unjust society.
There is no time to debate the right way to protest or the right way to make statements because that misses the point. Racism exists, and human lives are being lost as a result. We are all humans first, and this should not be happening. Ask yourself one question: are my actions productive in the cause to end racism? Sharing our stance is only scraping the surface; we also want to provide a framework for how to be anti-racist (simply put, fighting racism, but more comprehensively defined here) and share examples of what we as individuals are doing, along with resources.
We know the feelings of helplessness when faced with the seemingly impossible task of upending racism or paralysis by guilt from prior inaction, so we first offer this framework from our own experiences. We hope that it may ground you with a clearer sense of purpose and how to move forward, and we are here to encourage you and work together on this path. Here are our steps:
1) Reflect: Dig deeply and reflect on your core values and purpose — what they are and if they are good (would you proudly share them with anyone?). Do you believe in your fundamental human rights, to life and the basic needs of life? Should all others have the same and equal access to these rights? Reflect on where you have followed your values and where you have violated them. Reflect on your assets and strengths, so you can play to them. Having a clear North Star helps guide you, especially in a time of much noise and attempts to distract from the key issues.
2) Educate: Read books, watch films, listen to diverse perspectives and stories. Seek reputable sources and the ground truth. Understand history, what has been done and not done, and how we got here. Learn with empathy and patience. Arming yourself with knowledge will ground you in a time of excessive misinformation.
3) Take Action: Leveraging steps 1) and 2), determine your best course of action. For instance, if you noted that wealth and your network are key assets, perhaps consider fundraising and donating to anti-racist causes. If your creative abilities are your strength, perhaps storytelling and art creations are your path. Align your values and statements with your actions. The goal is not to do everything and do them poorly, but to find the ways you can be most productive.
The steps above will be ongoing — your values from 1) will be tested repeatedly, the material you learn in 2) will evolve, and your best course of action will 3) change. Keep at it, and encourage others to join you on the journey.
While we continue to work through steps 1) and 2) from above, we thought we would share examples of actions from step 3) that we as individuals from TAP-NY board and alumni are taking. We are having tough conversations with our parents, friends, and family to educate them on the injustices Black people face, we have donated to various causes including Campaign Zero, Reclaim the Block, and Black Visions Collective, we are writing to and petitioning local officials to end police brutality, and we are voting in the primary elections.
As one way for you to join us, TAP-NY President, Julie, is personally pledging to match up to $1,000 of donations to any anti-racist cause in addition to her own commitment as a way to further your impact. Just email her with your receipt showing the donation amount and organization by June 11th EOD, and she will aggregate the amount to make a donation equally split between the NAACP Legal Defense Fund and Campaign Zero. She will request a company match (push your companies and leaders to do matches!), thereby tripling your donation. She will also be holding space to listen to you one-on-one through next week, so email her directly to set up time (though we always encourage you to reach out!). Feel free to use this time to share ideas, stories, or just to catch up.
The above examples only represent a few actions we are taking, and we want to leave you with several resources we have found to be helpful as there are many ways to participate in this journey to reflect, educate, and take action:
- Asians4RacialJustice Resources: A compilation from multiple contributors (thanks to these anonymous helpers!) created for an API audience with organizations to support and books, podcasts, articles, and tools to educate and take action. This includes Letters for Black Lives, which has a set of multilingual letters to encourage conversations about racial justice with our families and communities (2020 letter in Chinese in progress).
- Anti-Racism Resource Guide: This guide includes a four-step process based on Ibram X. Kendi’s anti-racism syllabus, along with numerous books, movies, podcasts, and people to follow across communities.
- Asian American Federation (AAF) Events: AAF continues to be a leader in advocating for the Asian American community and is standing in solidarity with the Black community. They are hosting events to support racial justice; specifically on June 9th, they are bringing together Black, Asian, and Latino leaders to discuss racial justice in NYC today and how to rebuild a more just future.
- Reflections from the Taiwanese American community:
We invite you on this journey to uproot racism, to uplift the Black community and ensure their lives are valued equally, and to ultimately create a truly equitable society for all. We know we can do better and that there is a long but urgent road ahead of us, but we believe in the human spirit to choose right over wrong and are hopeful about our future. Now let’s get to work.