The history of Asians, Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders (AAPI) is one that I’m proud to share with millions around our country and billions around the world. Our collective stories are rich and tie us to lineages and cultures that span millennia. It’s truly an honor to share this moment with you as we celebrate Asian, Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month.
My mother came to the U.S. from Japan to marry the man she loved and build a life and family. Upon arrival, she immediately entered the workforce in a hat factory in small town Missouri where she was welcomed warmly by the local community. My parents put down roots there, helping build our local church and a new hospital while also expanding reliable electrical service throughout the countryside. They did all this while maintaining their own small business, offering my brother and me the opportunity to go to college.
It’s important for our stories to be heard, seen, and lived freely without fear of prejudice or racism. The experiences of the AAPI community are essential to the fabric of our society.
When I reflect on my own family’s experience in light of today’s climate, I’m grateful for how our town embraced my mother even though she was different from its other residents – this is the spirit we should all embody.
Equality and safety for underrepresented groups are values that we at AT&T believe in deeply. Over the past year, AT&T retail teams have come together to do their part in advancing racial equality and equity for all. We’re proud that our retail stores reflect the neighborhoods around them, and that our retail employees prioritize initiatives that advance equality across the country.
In Seattle, our Century Square store, worked with local artists to create beautiful murals on the location’s boarded-up windows to spread messages of hope, support and justice for the Black community. In New York and New Jersey, the retail team worked with the Harlem Boys & Girls Club to adopt a local school where they will host events and mentor students interested in STEM fields. And in the Pacific States, we created The Lens Committee, a group focused on ensuring our retail employee base is diverse, as are the communities they serve.
This type of solidarity and support for the Black community in the aftermath of last summer’s call for justice, has been no different for our AAPI colleagues, friends, and neighbors. In a moment to live out our corporate value to Stand for Equality retail stores and employees rallied in protection and support of the AAPI community.
During the month of May, many of our stores will celebrate AAPI Heritage Month with spotlights on local Asian-owned businesses, events and continued support for the #StopAsianHate movement. In predominantly Asian neighborhoods, our stores have multilingual staff who can assist customers in the language of their choice and give back through fundraising and food drives. Recently, as part of AT&T and WarnerMedia’s ongoing commitment to our global communities, AT&T and the AT&T Foundation are providing a $100,000 contribution to Project Hope, an organization focused on coordinating with local partners and government officials to help India’s health care workers respond to the current COVID-19 crisis.
Across the company, AT&T is dedicating its resources to further recognize, support, and celebrate our Asian, Asian American and Pacific Islander communities. This year, AT&T and WarnerMedia committed $7 million to combat and confront anti-Asian hate, including a multi-platform PSA campaign to inform, educate and inspire others to stand in solidarity to stop Asian hate. We continue to support the cause through an employee match-based dollar-for-dollar program that contributes to organizations committed to social justice for the AAPI community. Throughout this month, we’ll hear from our employees, leaders, and partners about their experiences and how they show up in life and work as their true selves.
During AAPI Heritage Month, I invite you to listen to every story told, to learn from your fellow AAPI colleague or neighbor through their lived story, and to join us as we commit to doing our part in creating a better, more equal world where every story is heard.