Maui Business

Kaiser Permanente Committing $5.4 Million To Combat Violence Against Asian Americans

March 22, 2021, 12:12 PM HST
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Kaiser Permanente has committed grant funding to Asian Americans Advancing Justice to help prevent violence against Asian Americans. Photo Courtesy: AAJC

Kaiser Permanente, the nation’s largest nonprofit health system, has committed $5.4 million in grants to combat the surge in violence against people of Asian descent and to support the rights, health and wellness of Asian, Native Hawaiian and Pacific Islander communities, a news release stated.

Racial prejudice toward these groups predates the COVID-19 pandemic but has recently increased as
pejorative associations of COVID-19 and people of Asian heritage have fueled xenophobic, anti-Asian
sentiment and hate crimes.

Kaiser Permanente’s Board of Directors approved the grant funding, which is intended to help prevent further racist acts, provide interventions when they occur, and promote healing in communities that have been discriminated against.

The grant recipients include two organizations that advocate nationally for Asian American, Native
Hawaiian and Pacific Islander communities: Asian Americans Advancing Justice – AAJC and Stop AAPI
Hate.

Asian Americans, Native Hawaiians and Pacific Islanders represent 34 percent of Kaiser Permanente employees and 23 percent of its 12.4 million members.

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“Kaiser Permanente recognizes the pain that many of our employees, members and communities are
experiencing due to the unacceptable increase in assaults, harassment and hate crimes directed at
people of Asian descent — including the tragic March 16 attacks in Atlanta,” said Greg A. Adams, Kaiser
Permanente chair and chief executive officer. “As a health care organization, we understand that it is
fundamentally impossible to achieve emotional or physical well-being when subjected to violence,
racism and other forms of discrimination, and so we stand firmly against all forms of social injustice.”

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According to Stop AAPI Hate, the group received reports of 3,292 incidents in 2020 involving
verbal harassment, avoidance/shunning, physical assault, vandalism and other forms of discrimination.
Nearly 45% of those incidents took place in California.

Asian Americans Advancing Justice – AAJC, a national nonprofit in Washington, DC, that advocates for
the civil and human rights of Asian Americans and underserved allied communities, will assist in
redistributing grant funds to community-based organizations where Kaiser Permanente operates and
will work with the four other independent organizations in the Advancing Justice affiliation.

“Advancing Justice AAJC is honored to be in partnership with Kaiser Permanente,” said John C. Yang,
president and executive director of Asian Americans Advancing Justice – AAJC. “Too often Asian
American communities are overlooked because of the harmful ‘model minority’ myth or targeted
because of the perpetual foreigner stereotypes that exist. This significant funding provides a robust
opportunity to address anti-Asian hate through collaboration between local community organizations
and a national response.”

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Objectives of the grant funding :

  • Advance the civil and human rights of Asian Americans, Native Hawaiians and Pacific Islanders through education, advocacy and community building
  • Address misinformation and xenophobia, and increase reporting of hate targeting the Asian American, Native Hawaiian and Pacific Islander communities
  • Strengthen infrastructure within regional community-based organizations for preventing racist attacks, intervening when they occur, and promoting healing.

These grants are part of Kaiser Permanente’s broad, established commitment to improve health equity and address racism in the communities it serves. Partnering with organizations that have a trusted presence within communities is a long-standing priority for the organization, the news release said.

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