Diversity & Equity Newsletter

May 2021

A square image with a red background and a yellow scale pattern on the side. Yellow text reads "Asian American Pacific Islander Heritage Month"

Asian American & Pacific Islander Heritage Month

On October 5, 1978, President Jimmy Carter signed a bill that designated a week in May as Asian/Pacific American Heritage Week. In 1990, Congress passed a bill that would expand this week to the entire month of May for the year of 1990. In 1992 another law was passed making Asian/Pacific Heritage Month an annual occurrence. May was chosen as Asian/Pacific Islander (AAPI) Heritage month to commemorate both the first immigration of a Japanese individual on May 7, 1843 and the completion of the transcontinental railroad on May 10, 1869, which was laid mostly by Chinese immigrants. More than 24 million Americans, or 7.4% of the population, are Asian or Pacific American.

The White House recently announced a new position, Deputy Assistant to the President and Liaison to the A.A.P.I. Community, to help President Biden in addressing the lack of Asian and Pacific Islander representation in the highest positions federally. Erika L. Moritsugu, who is of Chinese and Japanese descent, has been appointed to the position.

Unfortunately, we live in a society where bias and racism are common. Recently, there have been more instances of hate towards those of Asian descent. With COVID-19 increasing stress levels, we are seeing increased levels of crime and hate towards marginalized groups of people. Crimes specifically targeting Asian and Pacific Americans, mostly towards women and elderly people, have increased by 150% in the past year, and include attacks and inflammatory and racially discriminatory language regarding the Coronavirus Pandemic.

Recently, the Covid-19 Hate Crimes Act has been passed by the Senate and is on its way to the House of Representatives to be voted on. This act would work to address hate crimes related to COVID-19 and ensuring that all hate crimes are thoroughly reported, documented, categorized, and investigated.

An image with a yellow background. Black text reads "STOP AAPI HATE. If you see or experience a hate incident, report it at stopaapihate.org""

How You Can Help to Stop AAPI Hate

What can we do to protect our communities and support our neighbors? These tips from StopAAPIHate.org can help you to respond to hate crimes and incidents.

5 Ways to Help If You Witness Hate

  1. Take Action: Approach the targeted person, introduce yourself, and offer support.
  2. Actively Listen: Ask before taking any actions and respect the targeted person’s wishes. Monitor the situation if needed.
  3. Ignore Attacker: Using your discretion, attempt to calm the situation by using your voice, body language, or distractions.
  4. Accompany: If the situation escalates, invite the targeted person to join you in leaving.
  5. Offer Emotional Support: Help the targeted person by asking how they’re feeling. Assist them in figuring out what they want to do next.

5 Things to Consider When Experiencing Hate

  1. Safety First: Trust your instincts and assess your surroundings. If you feel unsafe and you are able to, leave the area.
  2. Stay Calm: Take a deep breath, limit eye contact, and maintain neutral body language.
  3. Speak Out (If you can do so safely): In a calm and firm voice establish physical boundaries, and denounce their behavior and comments.
  4. Seek Immediate Support: Ask bystanders for support or intervention.
  5. Seek Emotional Support: Once you feel safe, take time to recover and reach out to someone to talk about what happened. Remember this is not your fault, and you are not alone.

After experiencing an incident or crime, be sure to report it to StopAAPIHate.org on their "Report an Incident" form.

Diversity & Equity Committee Member Spotlight

Every month this year we will be spotlighting a different member of the Diversity & Equity Committee. In this space, they will be able to talk about what they do at ASUA, why they are on the committee, and what they like to do in their free time!

This month's spotlight is Jill.

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My name is Jillian Winn (she/her). I started working at A Step Up Academy in the summer of

2015 as an Instructional Assistant and moved into the role of Behavior Specialist that fall, where I began providing behavior support and teaching social skills. Two years ago, I transitioned into the role of Director of Clinical Programming where I continue my passion for behavior analysis and social skills, but also oversee the related services department. I love spending time in the classroom with our amazing students and staff. Even as my role has changed here over the years, my passion for watching both our students and staff learn and grow from each other is as strong as ever! I completed my undergraduate degrees in English, French, and International studies.

After being exposed to ABA from my sister, I quickly fell in love working with children

and completed my master’s degree in Education with a concentration in the Foundations of

Behavior Analysis and became a Board Certified Behavior Analyst (BCBA) in 2016. Outside of

my work at ASUA, I enjoy spending time with my family, especially my nephews and niece!

When I am not with family, I can be found enjoying a night outside with friends, or inside curled

up with a good book or movie.

I joined the Diversity and Equity committee because creating a safe place to start having

conversations about perspective, representation, identity, and inclusion, etc, while also

providing opportunities for us to learn and do better is something that is extremely important

to me. This committee is helping to create a place where everyone’s voice is not just heard but

accepted and supported. Part of our mission at ASUA is to help influence the creation of a

world that is inclusive and accepting, and to me, this committee embodies just that. Providing

a safe space to learn and grow does not just apply to our students, but to our ASUA community

as a whole. I love having a space to hear everyone’s perspectives and that challenges us to

come together and do better.