CommunityAnti-Asian and Asian American Violence

writes on April 2, 2021

Our mission at Treehouse is more than words to us. It transcends just the tech industry, which is why we would be remiss if we didn’t discuss the xenophobia, racism, and violent acts against Asian and Asian Americans happening right now. 

We want to acknowledge the pain and fear that the Asian and Asian American community is experiencing. It has not gone unnoticed by us that you are constantly experiencing anxiety, hurt, anger, and much more every day. A simple errand is no longer simple. A walk for fresh air during this pandemic is no longer unplanned or even happening. It saddens and outrages us to our core that this is happening. We hope you know we see what is happening, listen to every word you’re sharing, and won’t sit back. We stand in solidarity beside you. 

White Americans have a complicated past with the Asian and Asian American communities. Historically, White Americans use their power to choose when Asians and Asian Americans are part of “in-groups” (when it’s convenient for them) but then are often overlooked when it comes to their true lived experiences. This is also known as the Oppression Olympics

Treatment of Asian and Asian Americans has never been spoken about or covered in the news (it still isn’t). The pandemic only added fuel to the fire, encouraging folx to toss falsified blame onto this community and encouraging violence across the world. Stop AAPI Hate reported over 2,100 hate incidents against Asian Americans just between March and June 2020. As of February 2021, more than 2,800 reports of discrimination happened since the pandemic began. 

Over the past few weeks, we’ve learned about the acts of violence against Vicha Ratanapakdee, an 84-year-old Thai man who was walking alone in his neighborhood and was violently attacked and died from injuries two days later. A 91-year-old was pushed to the ground in broad daylight in Oakland’s Chinatown. The suspect who did this went on to attack a 60-year-old man and a 55-year-old woman. In NYC, Noel Quintana, a 61-year-old Filipino man, was slashed across the face on the subway. And more recently, the hate crime in Atlanta targeting and murdering Delaina Ashley Yaun, Xiaojie Tan, Daoyou Feng, Julie Park, and Hyeon Jeong, all Asian women. Again, this is just in the past few days and weeks. There are more incidents than this. 

While we shared this message a few weeks back internally with employees and students at Treehouse, we want everyone to know that we condemn this behavior and will not tolerate any form of hate in our community. We will continue to educate ourselves, support the Asian and Asian American community both in and outside of tech, and actively seek ways to provide safety, change, and be active bystanders when we see or hear something.

We aim to be part of a solution as we learn how to support the Asian and Asian American community better – this includes our students, employees, and those outside of our work environment. 

It’s important to us to share some of the following steps we are taking. The intention is not to pat ourselves on the back but rather to hold us accountable as well as be transparent on what we’re working on and plan to build upon. 

  • While we have learned about the bystander effect previously in our company-wide EDI training program for employees, we commit to further learning on this topic by providing bystander intervention training to all managers and key stakeholders to ensure that our internal team is prepared to take action and intervene when needed.
  • As you may already know, our mission is to diversify and remove barriers in tech education for under-represented and oppressed identities which is why we have reached out to non-profit organizations specifically working with the AAPI community to provide seats so folx can begin their coding education. 
  • Lastly, we will be seeking further learning opportunities within our teams to increase awareness about the history of racism against Asian and Asian Americans. 

Again, we know there’s more than we can do and plan to let this be a continuation of the work we are already doing. This will not be just for the next few weeks or just during AAPI heritage month but through the years as our learning and actions should never stop. 

Below are ways we all can begin or continue our anti-racism work for the Asian and Asian American community. 

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