The one-year anniversary of the COVID-19 pandemic shelter-in-place restrictions has many of us reflecting on what we’ve learned and what we’ve lost over the last year. Deplorably, this week also stands out as a deadly hallmark for a year of racism and violent hate crimes against Asian-Americans. I have watched and read in horror about the increasing number of racially motivated crimes against Asian-Americans, including the most recent killings in Atlanta.
Along with many of you, I am frustrated and fearful that as a nation, we have so much to learn and so many ways to improve, after a year in which we experienced the killing of George Floyd, a rise in violent attacks against Asian-Americans, and the impact of the pandemic on women, people of color and people with disabilities. Any form of racism, suppression or lack of accepting people for who they are is wrong. These incidents not only cause anxiety for many, they remind us of the long, sad history of anti-Asian discrimination in California and the U.S. that led to the Chinese Exclusion Act and the incarceration of Japanese-Americans in camps during World War II.
At Armanino, we have shown our support for one another through open, honest and sometimes painful dialogue in Community Conversations created by our IDEAL (Inclusion of Diverse Employees and Leaders) team. At this moment, those dedicated committee members are developing a Day of Understanding program on April 30, 2021, that will focus on the Asian-American racism crisis, as well as all forms of exclusion.
We have found that our attendance at these candid and courageous conversations is higher than for any other firmwide events. They have helped us learn from one another and share strategies for how to engage with family, friends and neighbors on these tough topics. When so many people take time in their workday to come together with their colleagues and talk, to find a path to being better individuals and teammates, how can anyone say that business doesn’t have a responsibility to do more?
When I signed the CEO Action Pledge for Diversity & Inclusion in 2019 as a personal commitment to advancing our firm’s diversity and inclusion, I didn’t foresee the pain and trials our nation would face. But, as I have shared with our firm and my family many times before, I believe there are more good people than bad in our communities, our nation and our world. As individuals and as a firm, we can change the conversation and create change in our communities. I invite you to learn more at: https://www.ceoaction.com/dayofunderstanding/.