NEW YORK, March 17, 2021 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) — The Asian American Business Development Center, U.S. Black Chambers and the U.S. Hispanic Chamber of Commerce have joined together to issue an open letter to America’s CEOs along with a “CEO Pledge” to address the wave of rising hate crimes, discrimination and harassment of Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders.
“At the start of the COVID-19 pandemic last year, we saw a backlash and targeting of the Asian American community who were unfairly blamed for the virus,” said John Wang, founder and president of the Asian American Business Development Center (AABDC). “Tragically, this climate of hate has continued in 2021, with vulnerable elderly targeted in California and New York City recently, and indications that the community continues to be stigmatized by racist acts and words.”
Stop AAPI Hate has recorded up to 2,800 incidents of hate crimes against Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic in March 2020.
AABDC, U.S. Black Chambers and U.S. Hispanic Chamber of Commerce believe that the CEOs of America’s corporations have a responsibility to speak up and to provide guidance and protection to their employees, customers and partners who are impacted.
The open letter to CEOs notes that the 2021 Edelman Trust Barometer found that 86 percent of respondents are looking for CEOs to lead on such issues as the pandemic’s impact, joblessness due to automation and broader societal issues, like climate change and the continuing struggle for racial justice.
The letter calls on all employers with the leadership of their CEOs to make racial equity and hate crimes against all minorities a top agenda item. The letter also encourages the senior leadership of companies to have “hearing sessions” to address concerns of their minority employees and to speak up (by way of verbal or written statements to their employees) condemning the racial violence.
In a companion document “A CEO Pledge”, the three business groups urge CEOs to adopt promises including a strong condemnation of the hate crimes, and a commitment to work with the Asian American community “to be part of the solution and to be a visible ally with Asian Americans and other underrepresented groups.”
The letter and the CEO Pledge have been sent to influential business groups CEO Action for Diversity & Inclusion, the Business Roundtable and The Conference Board and we call on their members to join us in supporting A CEO Pledge.
An increasing number of America’s most well-known corporations have been speaking out to support Asian American communities.
PepsiCo CEO and Chairman Ramon Laguarta said that the company is taking immediate action by working with AABDC, noting that AABDC specializes in helping Asian-American businesses compete in the mainstream marketplace and to find new business opportunities. PepsiCo is also providing a donation to AABDC for this work.
The CEO and Chairman of Pfizer Albert Bourla issued a statement to all of his employees, condemning the anti-Asian sentiment, and noting that some Pfizer employees of Asian and Pacific Island descent in the U.S. and elsewhere have experienced discrimination and/or harassment.
IBM issued a statement saying that it stands with the Asian community, and called on all people “to denounce harassment and hostility against the Asian-American community.
Asian American Business Development Center
The Asian American Business Development Center, Inc. is a 501(c) (3) non-profit organization established in 1994. It assists Asian American businesses in strengthening their capacity to compete in the mainstream market, to expand business opportunities, and to promote recognition of Asian American businesses’ contributions to the general economy. AABDC: www.aabdc.com
The U.S. Black Chambers
The U.S. Black Chambers, Inc. (USBC) provides committed, visionary leadership and advocacy in the realization of economic empowerment. Through the creation of resources and initiatives, we support African American Chambers of Commerce and business organizations in their work of developing and growing Black enterprises. USBC: www.usblackchambers.org
The U.S. Hispanic Chamber of Commerce
The USHCC actively promotes the economic growth, development and interests of more than 4.7 million Hispanic-owned businesses that, combined, contribute over $700 billion to the American economy every year. It also advocates on behalf of 260 major American corporations and serves as the umbrella organization for more than 250 local chambers and business associations nationwide. USHCC: wwwushcc.com
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