May 13, 2022
May is Asian American Pacific Islander (AAPI) Heritage Month.
This annual celebration recognizes the vibrant cultures and rich heritage of the AAPI community as well as the innumerable contributions made by this community to the US. Although this is a month of celebration, it’s also a month of reflection and action.
Since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, violent attacks and hate crimes against Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders have risen dramatically. This has sparked an important national conversation about the long history of racism and discrimination directed at Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders in this country. In wake of the anti-AAPI violence, ABS released a statement of support for the AAPI community.
"While we may not be able to control anti-AAPI events happening in other parts of the country, we can make a difference within our own spheres of influence such as our workplaces, neighborhoods, and places of worship by educating ourselves, practicing cultural sensitivity, showing empathy to each other, and ensuring an inclusive and accessible space for all," said Chief Diversity Equity and Inclusion Officer Ada Okafor.
All month long, ABS is engaging in thoughtful discussions and hosting events centered around the themes of inclusivity and belonging in an effort to express solidarity with our AAPI colleagues and to show support for the AAPI community.
Keep reading for the specific ways that ABS is celebrating AAPI Month.
Our Staff DEI Club is exploring the Netflix documentary "White Hot: the rise and fall of clothing giant Abercrombie & Fitch (A&F). The documentary details how A&F's exclusionary all-American marketing strategy and hiring policies led to nation-wide protests and lawsuits by underrepresented and marginalized groups. Social commentator, author and blogger, Phil Yu, who is featured in the documentary, will be joining us to share his perspective on past and current Asian Activism and the impact that has had on AAPI individuals in the Asian diaspora.
ABS is continuing our Speaker Series after the success of our Black History Month Speaker Series in February. This month, our guest speaker is Juju Chang, an Emmy-Award winning anchor and journalist on ABC's Nightline, 20/20, ABS News and Good Morning America. She will be speaking on the increase in anti-AAPI rhetoric as well as the rise in AAPI attacks across the country, including the tragic Atlanta spa shootings, and how we can each play a role as allies to #StopAsianhate. Dr. Herbert Chen, a director of the Complex General Surgical Oncology Board of the ABS, will moderate the conversation.
We are also continuing our Surgeon Stories initiative by amplifying the voices of our AAPI surgeon leaders, diplomates, fellows, and residents. In these videos, AAPI surgeons will share their unique experiences, the obstacles they have overcome on their medical journeys, what it means for them to be "the first," "the only one" or "one of few," and the impact they have had on their patients and the communities they serve. Please check out the ABS Twitter, LinkedIn and Facebook accounts this month for these insightful and moving stories.
The ABS Diversity Department is hosting a 21-Day Racial Equity Habit-Building Challenge that will run during AAPI Month. The goal of the Challenge is to increase awareness, compassion, and empathy for the AAPI community. The Challenge is structured around a syllabus created by the American Bar Association. Participants will complete 21 short "assignments" that include readings, videos, or podcasts centered on the lived experiences of Asian American and Pacific Islanders. Participants are able to curate and customize their learning journeys to fit their needs and schedules. The syllabus can be accessed via the American Bar Association website. This may be a valuable learning tool to share with your colleagues, your home institution or with other surgical societies you participate in.
Finally, the Diversity Department has curated a list of educational resources for those interested in continuing their learning journey after AAPI month. You may access the list here.