Sadly, for as often as these moments arise over the years, the grief feels as awful the fifteenth or fiftieth time as it does the first. We find ourselves offering thoughts and prayers, calls and messages, to the affected families and friends, and hoping for change from our leaders. No one is immune from the sense of helplessness and the shadow it casts over your world. Because we – Anne Chow, CEO, AT&T Business and Corey Anthony, Senior Vice President and Chief Diversity and Development Officer – are human and thus not immune to these emotions, we wanted to write this article to reflect along with you.
Today marks the virtual day of action and healing in support of Asians, Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders in the United States, though the racist and xenophobic actions against these communities are not limited to our borders. For far too long, caustic words and heinous actions have been carried out against AAPI citizens. The effects of stereotypes have been borne out through anxiety, depression and a sense of invisibility. Today, we raise a collective cry and say, “No more.”
As AT&T employees, we value equality – how we treat one among us is how we treat everyone. There is no lesser harm because of how racism and intolerance manifests in a given community; we are all harmed when inequality exists. To overcome these divisions requires dedication, clarity and empathy. In addition, this afternoon, we, along with Christine Lee, WarnerMedia Business Resource Group Co-Chair of ARC (AAPI Representing Change) Burbank Chapter, led an internal discussion that held space for the complicated emotions present after the recent Atlanta shootings and the months-long harassment of Asian communities. Our employees asked leadership the difficult questions and shared the challenges they’ve faced in their life. Hearing these stories was hard, but we know it was even harder to live those moments.
Today’s day of action and healing doesn’t end here. This morning, we launched a multi-platform campaign to raise awareness around the escalating violence towards the AAPI community and to offer ways on how the public can show their support and stand in solidarity. This campaign continues the company’s ongoing commitment in response to racial and social injustice.
As you reflect on what’s taking place, you might be asking yourself, what else can I be doing about this? We should all be seeking to understand any communities and all people who have been impacted, marginalized and compromised. This involves engagement on a personal level with the intent of listening, learning, and active dialogue, particularly about biases – both conscious and unconscious. These conversations must be candid, courageous, transparent, authentic, and as such incredibly uncomfortable if we are to make progress together.
Through these conversations, each of us will be better informed on what actions we can each take to work towards a more diverse, inclusive, and equitable environment for all – with the aligned objective of progress and prosperity for humankind and society as a whole. And, this is why at AT&T and WarnerMedia, we are structuring our internal actions and conversations around our commitment to Listen, Understand and Act.
As leaders, we have a responsibility to our employees, customers, partners, and society at large to contribute meaningfully and influence change. As equal humans sharing in this country and world, we must create a safe place to live – for everyone. We hope you will do your part to stop Asian hate by speaking up today and committing to ongoing action today and beyond.