“Injustice anywhere is threat to justice everywhere” – Martin Luther King, Jr.
The number of hate crimes reported against Asians in the United States has increased 150% in 2020, while overall, the number of hate crimes has dropped. A horrifying killing spree that took the lives of six Asian-American women near Atlanta, along with multiple recent videos showing elderly Asian-Americans being assaulted on the street, has focused the entire country’s attention on crime against the group. Many Asian-American employees are afraid of taking public transportation to work or leaving their children or elderly family members alone.
While that harassment is happening outside the office, Diversity and Inclusion (D&I) experts say there is a more subtle form of disrespect that many Asian-Americans experience at some of the country’s largest organizations. Not getting visible assignments, not being asked for their opinions, constantly having their lineage questioned, and being asked to repeat things because they do not have an “American accent” are often obstacles Asian-Americans endure. Company leaders may not be able to stop crimes committed against Asian-Americans, but they can help create a better corporate culture that makes the group feel valued and respected.
I remember that after 9/11, all middle easterners, including Iranian-Americans, were harassed in public and even jailed by law enforcement. Many Iranian American attorneys worked day-and-night to free those in prison, many jailed without cause, simply because they looked Middle Eastern. The ones with accents were harassed or jailed most frequently. Many Iranian-American organizations were created after 9/11 to protect them from future similar events. These organizations worked with other minority and civil right organizations to protect Iranian-Americans. Asian-American organizations were among the ones who assisted Iranian-Americans during these difficult times. Although we are called Middle Eastern, Iran is in Asia, and, therefore, we are also from Asia.
Condemning violence against Asian-Americans, including Middle Eastern, is, while notable, not enough, as experts say. The stereotype that Asian-Americans are the so-called model minority—a group that is smart, industrious, and quiet— it is a trope many Asian-American professionals bristle at. We must come together and press for change through legislation. We must stop gun violence against all law abiding-citizens.
The Iranian American Community Group of Orange County (IAC) supports and stands in solidarity with the Asian-American community. They are our friends, neighbors, family members, and we stand with them to condemn any act of violence and harassment.
We had many Asian American government officials, such as California State Treasure Fiona Ma, County Supervisor and Congresswoman Michelle Steel, Mayor and State Assembly Member Steven Choi, Mayor Sukhee Kang and others supported our Nowruz Festival in Orange County. We received Nowruz Proclamation greeting from many City Council Members and County Supervisors who were Asian Americans. We will never forget.
IAC Group Board of Directors