[AAPIP Connect] April 2020

Publication Date: 





Dear Colleagues,

Earlier this month, AAPIP President, Pat Eng, was interviewed by the Chronicle of Philanthropy about how Asian Americans are being impacted by COVID-19 and the sharp increase in anti-Asian hostility. Embedded in it was the Open Letter to Philanthropy: The Cure to Racism is Within Our Hands. Close to 500 foundations, giving circles, philanthropy serving organizations, and individuals in philanthropy have signed – we are deeply appreciative of and reinvigorated by this broad display of solidarity.

While this letter was prompted by the anti-Asian climate alongside COVID-19, it is imperative that we also address the disproportionately high rates of infection and death within African American communities that has everything to do with institutionalized racism compounded since the days of slavery. Let’s not forget Native Americans also with similarly high rates of heart disease, diabetes and other underlying conditions, many of whom rely on Indian Health Services, notoriously slow and under-resourced to begin with. And, of course, undocumented residents, including Latinx and AAPIs, who are especially vulnerable and are not able to access proper medical care when needed.

Naming and recognizing these disparities is just the beginning; we need to do more than simply acknowledge exacerbated inequities. This pandemic has already permanently re-shaped the country and world as we know it. Accordingly, we see promising indications that philanthropy is responding rapidly and appropriately, lifting certain restrictions and procedures, hopefully permanently. Will these shifts in practice constitute a tipping point in philanthropy commensurate and worthy of this watershed moment?

In signing onto this letter, a new opportunity is available to turn awareness into concrete action. AAPIP is looking forward to partnering with you to incorporate a new fluency across race, gender, and gender identity, properly nuanced to include all of us in the solutions. We would love to hear from you about what you and/or your foundation or organization may be doing differently to:

Address racially-based harms against AAPIs. For example,have you held conversations with staff about the impact of anti-Asian hostility and violence? Incorporate AAPIs in your grantmaking portfolio. Do you see the millions of AAPIs who are working on the frontlines - from farmworkers to small business owners - who are not part of the 1%? Address racial disparities that are not simply “momentary lapses” but well documented patterns rooted in anti-Blackness (whether they be institutionally constructed and/or individually expressed against AAPIs specifically and people of color more generally).

Real progress on racial equity cannot be achieved without including all groups, including AAPIs. Please share your stories, triumphs and struggles, big and small. We’ve seen already that simple acts can spark much needed conversations, paving a path of hope. This is a learning moment for all of us, and we are grateful for your partnership as we navigate this new era together.

We wish you all good health.

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