A Plague of Violence Fueled by Hate
Since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, the virus has brought on a second epidemic as well: a plague of acts against members of the Asian American and Pacific Islander community, a group that has faced a long history of discrimination. Shootings in Atlanta, in which six Asian women died, beatings in the streets of New York and San Francisco, and boycotts of Asian-owned businesses have intensified national attention.
The Stop AAPI Hate report, as quoted in the Los Angeles Times, notes 3,795 acts against Asian Americans between March 2020 and February 2021 in the U.S. The study found that the incidents consisted of 68% verbal abuse, 21% shunning and 11% physical assaults. In plain numbers, that’s about 417 documented assaults on members of the AAPI community. Violent physical attacks have been committed against victims from various Asian ethnic backgrounds and ages, ranging from children to senior citizens.
The events and numbers remind us why we’re committed to standing up for justice and speak out against hate. Real change requires creating awareness and a continuous, concerted effort by a network of individuals, communities, charities and businesses.
Assurant Acts Against Hate and Violence
At Assurant, we recognize it’s a critical time worldwide to deepen levels of understanding, engagement and actions aligned with our values and commitment to diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI). Acting on our core principles, we’re marshaling our resources to stand up for our AAPI clients, customers, employees and neighbors. Assurant President and CEO Alan Colberg stated, “I stand in solidarity with our Asian and Asian American colleagues and communities, continuing to denounce these and any acts of violence motivated by hate. As one action, we are and will continue our charitable giving to help those community partners that fight against racism, hatred and violence.”
We’re leveraging the resources of the Assurant Foundation with several concrete steps to support the AAPI community:
- Awarding $30,000 in grants this month to support the important work of organizations operating in the interests of the AAPI community
- Asian American's Advancing Justice: AAAJ's mission is to advance civil and human rights for Asian Americans and to build and promote a fair and equitable society for all
- Asian American Legal Defense and Education Fund: AALDEF aims to protect and promote the civil rights of Asian Americans and seeks to address racial and economic inequality through litigation, advocacy, education and organizing
- Providing $20,000 for special 2:1 Assurant Foundation matching gift opportunities for employees to charitable organizations across the globe that are doing effective work to promote social justice and to help end racism, including organizations dedicated to Asian communities
- Providing support through the Employee Assistance program for Assurant colleagues whose well-being is affected by acts of hate against the AAPI community
- Creating an enterprise-wide Courageous Conversation focusing on our Asian and AAPI employees’ perspectives so that we can all learn and listen.
- Forging new DEI strategic partnerships as of 2021 with nonprofit organizations addressing the fact that “white-collar AAPIs are the least likely demographic to be promoted into leadership,” according to the Harvard Business Review. These partnerships include:
- Ascend, the largest nonprofit Pan-Asian organization for business professionals in North America
- Leadership Education for Asian Pacifics (LEAP), a national, nonprofit organization with a mission to achieve full participation and equality for Asian and Pacific Islanders (APIs) through leadership, empowerment and policy
Acting on Assurant’s Values
We value the diverse voices and talents of our people because creating a global culture of mutual respect is simply the right thing to do. A truly inclusive culture requires a journey, and we know we have more to learn. So, we renew our commitment to diversity, equity and inclusion every day. Because it’s only by listening to and valuing different perspectives today that we can create the innovations of tomorrow.
Assurant’s dedication to doing what’s right starts at the top. For a clear statement of our emphasis on social justice, read these posts by president and CEO Alan Colberg:
- “No Place for Hate… Ever,” penned after the shootings in Atlanta of eight people, including six AAPI women
- “No Place for Hate: Embracing Inclusion, Acting with Respect – Always,” written after the killing of George Floyd
We continue to support fair and respectful treatment for all people — not only within our own doors, but also throughout the world. Read more about our commitment to DEI in our 2021 Social Responsibility report.