May 3, 2021 - Economy

Corporates step up to support Asian American causes

Illustration of hands holding up one hundred dollar bills and a protest sign in support of the AAPI community

Illustration: Annelise Capossela/Axios

Following more than a year of rising anti-Asian sentiment, prominent business leaders and corporates are pooling millions to fight discrimination and to reverse economic and cultural exclusion. 

Driving the news: Saturday marked the start of Asian Pacific American Heritage month and numerous organizations and companies have launched platforms and programs to coincide with the time period.

  • Facebook and BMW are working with non-profit Gold House to grow Asian-led small businesses through an accelerator program and e-commerce sales campaign — like Amazon's Prime Day — called Gold Rush.
  • AT&T-owned HBO, Comcast NBCUniversal and ViacomCBS networks are launching campaigns like "See Us" and "We Belong" and special events to spotlight Asian creators. Comcast is also committing $2 million in direct support for social justice organizations.
  • Big banks like UBS and Citigroup, as well as Amazon, Walmart and Coca-Cola are part of a new $250 million effort to aid Asian American and Pacific Islander causes through The Asian American Foundation, which launched Monday

Why it matters: America's centuries-long history of excluding Asians has led to widespread systemic marginalization. The rise in attacks — many violent in nature — has galvanized the larger community to overhaul systems simultaneously.

What they're saying: “AAPI communities need systemic change to ensure we are better supported, represented, and celebrated across all aspects of American life," Sonal Shah, a former Obama official and now president of The Asian American Foundation, said in a statement.

  • In the workforce, workers of Asian descent are often left out of diversity initiatives and are the least likely group to be promoted into management.
  • In philanthropy, communities of Asian Pacific Islanders have received less than 0.5% of charitable giving.

The bigger picture: People of Asian descent currently make up about 7% of the U.S. population at 23 million and is the fastest-growing racial or ethnic group.

  • By 2060, the number of Asians in the U.S. is expected to reach nearly 36 million people, or more than 3x their population in 2000, according to Pew.
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