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How to combat discrimination and support the AAPI community

Be an ally to your colleagues and neighbors.

Last summer, I moved my family to New York City from Tokyo. We’ve quickly found that New York City has a lot in common with Tokyo. It has 24/7 convenience, access to educational opportunities, beautiful parks and world-class museums, to name a few. It’s easy to see why many consider New York to be one of the greatest cities in the world!

But it’s not without its problems. The significant increase in hate crimes against Asians during the pandemic has deeply concerned me. Combined with the wave of attacks in recent years, I understand why many of my Asian colleagues and others in the community don’t feel safe. The reality is, we need to have greater situational awareness than ever before.

Although public attention to such events may have slowed in the past 12 months, there are ways we can combat discrimination and support the Asian community during these troubling times. I’ve found one of the best ways is through the allyship of others. In fact, “Be an Ally,” is one of our Values at AIG, where I work as the company’s Chief Auditor. But we don’t just say it’s a value – we actually live it. I’m proof of that. I’m in my role today in part because I had allies in AIG senior leadership who saw potential in me, who valued my international experience, and who advocated for me.

I now strive to do the same for others as the Executive Sponsor for AIG’s Asian Leadership Network Employee Resource Group (ERG). Here, we try to create a culture of shared belonging, where people from all backgrounds and ethnicities feel comfortable speaking up, asking for advice, and serving as active allies to one another and the communities in which they live and work.

So, this Asian American and Pacific Islander (AAPI) Heritage Month, I encourage everyone, especially my AIG colleagues, to live these values and to find their own way to serve as an ally. It meant a lot to receive the support of others in my own career, and I know it’ll mean just as much to those who need it today.

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