May was Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage month. At Catchpoint, we took the time to celebrate it!
We have a sizeable Asian community (Chinese, Indian, Korean), employees, and husbands and wives that are of Asian descent, and many of us have children. When I was contacted by an Asian American employee last month to say they were nervous about leaving the house due to the rise in Asian hate crimes, I decided we needed to do something to demonstrate our allegiance with the Asian American community and our colleagues.
Working Against Asian Hate
Supporting the Asian American community takes many forms. Most importantly, we’ve vocally shared our support internally.
As the VP of Global People Operations, I spent time talking to the employee who had reached out and made it clear we are here to help and be a supportive presence at such a hard time. Our CEO, Mehdi, also sent an email to all employees at the end of March after the awful attack on the 65-year-old Filipino woman in New York, stating his horror at recent events and his absolute support for the community. “My door is open to you 24×7”, he said.
Mehdi also reminded us all of Catchpoint’s policy of inclusion. He sent a list of resources shared by a friend of his for how we can each support the East Asian and Pacific Islander communities in the fight against racism and hate crimes. We also sent out our own list (shared at the end of this post).
In addition, we have been painfully aware over the last couple of months of the tragic COVID-19 increase in India. As Mehdi says, half of Catchpoint is in the beautiful country of India. That means half of us are hurting now. We have been doing what we can to support one another practically and emotionally during this time, and we’ll be talking more about that in another article soon.
Celebrating Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month
Acknowledging challenges and tragedy is important. So are welcoming joy and celebrating. This is a time for recognizing the contributions and influence of Asian Americans and Pacific Islander Americans to the history, culture, and achievements of the US.
We celebrated with our fellow Catchpointers engaged in 30 days of fasting from dawn to dusk as they celebrated Ramadan Moubarak! And all our virtual events this month are centered around AAPI culture and awareness.
We kicked things off with a little lightness, ending the last week of April by celebrating National Bubble Tea Day (4/30)! I’m sure that all the adventurous foodies out there already know what bubble/boba tea is, but for those of you who don’t, it’s a tea-based drink that originated in Taiwan in the early 1980s. Usually, it comes with chewy tapioca balls, but you can also opt for other toppings as well such as jelly, pudding, etc.
For our monthly Onpoint event, we ran a self-defense workshop online. The event was well attended and hopefully represented a chance for our employees to have a few tools at their disposal to feel a little safer. The event was also a chance to gather together and show our moral support for our fellow employees.
For our American employees, we ran a Zen garden event. This special opportunity was a lovely occasion to take time out of our normal working day to encourage us to slow down and consider the true nature of existence. In a similar spirit, we are holding regular guided meditations online and have recently given all our employees access to Headspace, which has hundreds of meditations and exercises for sleep, focus, and movement.
We are also looking into ways to make a contribution on the ground. One of our employees, Yanbin Song, UX Designer for Product, just volunteered for 48 in 48, an organization that creates websites for nonprofits. Song asked us if Catchpoint could be involved in helping support the work of 48 in 48, and we are looking for ways to do so, which so far has included Song reaching out to AAPI organizations that may be in need of a new or revised website.
Finally, we have been encouraging recipe swapping and in our Water Cooler channel on Microsoft Teams, we have asked employees to spotlight any local AAPI-owned restaurants and businesses. These businesses have been particularly harmed during the pandemic and have lost business because patrons are fearful of Coronavirus. If you’re in the U.S., you can access this community-created document to support your local AAPI community. At Catchpoint, whenever we have given out a Seamless gift card, we have also shared a series of links to AAPI-owned restaurants to encourage people to show their support.
Some Practical Ways You Can Show Your Support
Here is our list, which shares a few practical ways to get you started supporting the East Asian and Pacific Islander communities in the fight against racism and hate crimes.
- Click here for educational resources and ways to support the AAPI community: Boston; New York.
- Click here for ways to support India right now during this pandemic.
- Click here to donate to Sewa International’s campaign: Support Bharat Fundraiser (help ship ventilators/oxygen concentrators to Bharat).
- Sewa International (www.sewausa.org) is a 501 (c)(3) Hindu faith-based charitable nonprofit that works in the areas of disaster recovery, education, and development. Sewa has 43 Chapters across the U.S.
Finally, if you see a hate crime occurring, please report it. The Stop AAPI Hate organization has made it incredibly easy to submit a reported hate crime against the AAPI (Asian American Pacific Islander) community.