We Believe In Social Justice Through Inclusion and Diversity
Letter of Support to our Asian American Community Members
Dear Community Members,
The D&I Committee would like to call attention and bring awareness to the uptick in violence against Asian Americans over the course of the past year and to send a message of support to our Asian American brothers and sisters in the WISH community. In Los Angeles from March 2020-October 2020 alone, 245 hate incidents against Asian Americans were reported to Stop AAPI Hate - with 76% including verbal harassment and 8% being civil right violations. Nationwide, Stop AAPI Hate is reporting that roughly 9% of attacks against Asian Americans have been physical. Stories of microaggressions, harassment and assault have been documented in the national and local news recently.
This surge of violence against Asian Americans is creating real trauma in our nation, our state, our city and our WISH Community. Some of our own Asian American community members have given us short testimonials of how they are feeling now:
"I am Chinese American. When I sewed my first mask at the beginning of the pandemic, I specifically chose the cutest fabric I had so that people would hopefully see me as less of a threat. It was a form of self-protection. If I was wearing a mask with adorable pink and yellow apples, then maybe I would be less of a target."
"My family is planning a short trip within California for spring break. My children have been expressing fears that our family will be attacked simply because we are Asian and are hesitant to travel. We have had a year of covid keeping us at home and now we have brutal attacks against Asians furthering our isolation."
"My parents have just gotten vaccinated, are finally able to go out again, and now I'm scared for them to do so."
We want to wrap all community members in our WISH blanket of support, and the first step is education and awareness. Please take the time to read up on this issue.
Here is an article about ways to talk with your children about this issue.
For advice on what to do as a bystander if you witness a microagression or harassment, you can look at the 5 D's from ihollaback.org
- Delay: If you witness microaggression or assault - comfort the victim, let them know that you saw it and provide support, ask if they need help to their car, to call a loved one, or to get home. Delay also comes into play if you see a systemic issue in a place of business or other institution, in which case you can write letters to the appropriate leadership.
- Distract: become a distraction when a microagression seems to be escalating. Make eye contact with the victim, drop your keys, ask them for directions or to help you with something.
- Delegate: Find someone in a position of authority, like a bus driver, flight attendant, teacher, security guard or store manager and ask them for help.
- Document: If it is safe, record the incident or stay to talk about what you witnessed to authorities.
- Direct: Assess your safety first. Speak up about the harassment. Be firm and clear.
On behalf of the entire WISH community, the D&I Committee wants to express our commitment to support all community members. During this difficult time in which xenophobia and racism are rearing its head and affecting our Asian American friends, we extend our support and partnership.
At WISH, we believe that every person is entitled to:
-Equitable, fair, and just treatment within an atmosphere of caring and belonging
-Full access along the continuum of ability, identity, and experience
-An intentional, ongoing effort to ensure all individuals are fully represented and can participate in all aspects of organizational work, including decision-making processes.
-Being valued and respected members of our school and the greater community.
WISH’s Commitment to Inclusion, Equity, and Diversity is an on-going process and growth cycle that involves explicit daily actions:
-At WISH, we commit to continually re-examine our practices to ensure we are creating systems and supports that serve our entire community.
-As an organization, we must apply authentic introspection regarding our own diversity, equity, and inclusion practices. We must be disciplined in how we reflect and reconsider, and when we fall short, we must acknowledge and repair.
In this ongoing work, we make a solidarity commitment to:
-Create spaces in our organization for diverse voices to be heard, especially those of our students;
-Continue to ensure ongoing professional development on implicit bias, diversity, equity, inclusion, and anti-racism, reaching every employee of WISH;
-Ongoing professional development for WISH around delivering culturally relevant, responsive and anti-racist instruction;
-Continual training for WISH staff around restorative practices and trauma-informed practices in an effort to re-examine current discipline policies;
-Continue to ensure our educators reflect the diversity of our student population and that this includes school leaders, WCA leadership, School Site Council, and board members;
-Develop an equity audit and engage stakeholders to ensure equal access and treatment;
-Collaborate with parents, faculty, administration to ensure our Diversity and Inclusion Committee will ensure ongoing dialogue about our equity, inclusion and anti-racism work as a school community; and
-Evaluate our student handbooks, and specifically, our student codes of conduct to address social norms around racial slurs, implicit racial bias, and instances of prejudice in all forms, and revise as necessary.
At WISH, we believe in the transformative power of education, we know that each of us has a part in this and we must continue to listen to one another and evolve. We seek to contribute to a world shaped by respect, equality, and justice for all.