On April 9, 2021, AABANY and a coalition of bar associations from across the country presented a CLE program titled, “The Surge in Anti-Asian Violence: Corporate Social Responsibility and Action.” About 500 attendees from all across the United States joined an esteemed panel of corporate in-house leaders in a discussion on how corporate employers can address the surge in anti-Asian violence and support their Asian American and Pacific Islander (AAPI) employees. The panel included:
- Sara Yang Bosco, Senior Vice President, Secretary and General Counsel, Emerson
- Sam Khichi, Executive Vice President, General Counsel, Public Policy & Regulatory Affairs, Becton, Dickinson and Company
- Sandra Leung, Executive Vice President & General Counsel, Bristol Myers Squibb
- Allen Lo, Vice President and Deputy General Counsel Products, IP, and Legal Operations, Facebook
- Susan Moon, Principal Counsel, The Walt Disney Company
- Caroline Tsai, Chief Legal Officer & Corporate Secretary, Western Union
- Michael C. Wu (Moderator), GAPABA Board Member
Moderator Michael Wu began the panel discussion by describing how the coronavirus pandemic has become a virus of hate, with the increase of violence and hate crimes against Asian Americans. To add to this, Sara Bosco emphasized the importance of reporting and providing visibility to these incidents and stated, “You cannot manage what you cannot measure.” Asian Americans comprise 6% of the United States population, yet have been historically overlooked despite being part of U.S. history since the 1800s. Due to Asian Americans being viewed as perpetual foreigners and the model minority, coupled with the inaccurate information disseminated about the origins of the pandemic in 2020, Asian Americans have been perceived as an easier target to perpetrators of anti-Asian violence.
When asked how Corporate America should address anti-Asian violence, many of the panelists shared initiatives their workplaces started and gave suggestions on what companies can do. A main focus of the panelists was discussing how Asian employees can be supported in the workplace. To create a supportive environment, companies should reach out to AAPI employees and create an AAPI employee resource group in the workplace if there is not one already. Even if the organization does not have many AAPI employees, it is important for AAPI employees to meet others to increase their circle and build a larger voice. In addition, mental health resources and allyship training should be offered to employees within the workplace’s HR department. Panelists also agreed that not only should the diversity officers in the company address anti-Asian violence, but even CEOs need to speak up and make statements to show support for the AAPI community.
As individuals in the AAPI legal community, Sandra Leung said, “We are in a crisis situation right now with the rise of anti-AAPI hate, but it’s also an opportunity for us to band together to do our part individually or collectively in groups. We have to turn the emotion and anger that we have into action.” She further emphasized that we need to take leadership roles, speak loud, and educate people on anti-AAPI hate. In discussing leadership roles, Sandra Leung remarked, “I feel so compelled right now and so moved by everything we are facing in our community that I would love to run for President-Elect of NAPABA…” AABANY applauds Sandra Leung’s intent to run during these critical times and agrees that we have to continue working collectively to address anti-Asian violence.
Thank you to Sara Yang Bosco, Sam Khichi, Sandra Leung, Allen Lo, Susan Moon, Caroline Tsai, and Michael Wu for this important discussion on anti-Asian violence and corporate social responsibility. Non-transitional New York attorneys were eligible to receive a maximum of 1.5 CLE credit hours applied toward the Diversity, Inclusion, and Elimination of Bias requirement. CLE credits were also approved in California and Colorado, and CPE credits were approved in British Columbia and Ontario. CLE credits have been applied for in Florida, Hawaii, Illinois, Ohio, Pennsylvania and Texas, and are pending approval. To view a recording of the program, click here or on the image above.