After the rise of anti-Asian sentiment in 2020 and this year, the Asian-American and Pacific Islander community needs more than condemnations of hate, according to FleishmanHillard's When Allies Need Allies: The Role of Care and Connection in Creating Equity report.
Fleishman's TrueMosaic and True Global Intelligence teams partnered on the report, which surveyed 1,014 members of the general population and 1,013 Asian Americans or Pacific Islanders in the U.S. from May 4-11.
The report focused on the AAPI community, examining its experiences and expectations with the hopes of better informing what individuals and organizations can do to improve equity and inclusion.
In the last year, AAPI community members were twice as likely as the general population to have felt depressed (20% vs. 10%), more stressed (31% vs. 14%), have skipped social gatherings (8% vs. 4%), or withdrawn from friends or family (6% vs. 3%).
Addressing these issues with blanket statements of condemnation is only part of proper allyship, said Adrianne Smith, chief diversity and inclusion officer at Fleishman.
"In order for us to be able to connect in an empathetic way sincerely, we have to know and understand everyone's issues and purposes for being," she explained. "If we do not do this, it shows that we're not caring about all of our communities that we're engaged with on a regular basis."
Asian Americans have consistently been allies for marginalized groups, with the survey finding that 90% of the AAPI community is likely to address racism and discrimination against marginalized communities in general, compared to 84% of the general population.
AAPI individuals are more likely to help specific groups, too, with 90% of AAPI respondents saying they would address discrimination against Asian Americans (compared to 81% of the general population), 77% against the LGBTQ+ community (compared to 68%), 82% against Black Americans (compared to 77%) and 91% against women (compared to 86%).
The report also offers strategies for building equity and inclusion for employees, including encouraging corporate leaders to engage with AAPI employees on issues that concern them and model inclusive behaviors and language for other employees.
"The most important thing is to make sure that leadership is on board, and that messages and tones are set from the CEO and the talent development team," Smith said. "You have to model the mindset that the culture is a culture of inclusion, and it has to be a part of the conversation on a daily basis."
Employers should also take opportunities to engage meaningfully with AAPI employees and offer programs to facilitate one-on-one connections between all staffers. They should also be aware of small inclusive details like properly pronouncing colleagues' names and avoid the trap of creating a hierarchy of marginalized groups in favor of allowing each community its proper space.
"All these people of color, we value the human experience and we all want the opportunity to grow, do better and live better lives," Smith said. "Everyone has a voice and the AAPI community voice is valid and has to be heard."
This story first appeared on PRWeek US.