AAPI Equity Alliance Program: Healing Hate in Asian American Communities

The AAPI Equity Alliance program unites culturally-centered groups that help Asian Americans heal from attacks stemming from hate, seeking to make sense of their experiences with racism, primarily in Cambodian, Chinese, and Filipino community groups. , Japanese and Korean.

Thus, the pilot program led by AAPI Equity Alliance is creating culturally focused community groups as healing spaces for five different Asian American communities to have safe spaces, as reported by experts during a briefing held by Ethnic Media Services.

This program is an adaptation of Black Liberation psychologists’ “Radical Healing Framework,” which helps African Americans overcome generations of bad racial experiences; The program is called Healing Our People Through Engagement (HOPE), which builds on people’s strengths and the cultural practices of their communities to grow a shared understanding and collective response to current racism, bringing communities together.

Michelle Sewrathan Wong, managing director of AAPI Equity Alliance programs, explained that this new program created and with Asian American communities in mind is a coalition of more than 40 community organizations that are dedicated to improving the living conditions of Asian Americans in Los Angeles County.

Sewrathan Wong commented that these communities suffered from a brutal increase in racism and discrimination as a result of the pandemic, where politicians made them scapegoats for the transmission of COVID-19 and they were subjected to violent physical attacks, making them feel unsafe and unwelcome in their own community in an intimidating way.

We knew from our reports and data the deep emotional and mental suffering they had experienced, we wanted to further explore its root causes, so we turned to the radical healing framework, a psychological framework developed by a team that goes beyond conventional approaches. at an individual level to confront racial trauma, drawing on the collective experience of both pain and joy to deepen their resilience in the face of hate? Wong said.

Likewise, he explained that the innovative pilot program is based on a framework of healing and hope that encourages ethnic pride, community empowerment, and reinforces that racism does not only occur at the individual level, but that communities also suffer as a group, so it has been implemented in 5 Los Angeles communities, where feedback has been overwhelmingly positive, providing community members a space where they can feel safe, supported and heard.

Anne Saw, Ph.D., associate professor of psychology at DePaul University and former vice president of the Asian American Psychological Association, said healing from racism in Asian American communities that have suffered for decades is important, as psychological research and other fields show that racism damages both physical and mental health.

Acts of hate can cause symptoms of depression, anxiety and post-traumatic stress disorder and can cause people to experience feelings of incomprehension, isolation and lack of power, hence the need for healing that has become increasingly urgent in the communities.

It is the first community program developed from the framework of radical healing psychology and is one of the first community programs to address the effects of racism on the mental health of Asian Americans. “It was developed by a multiracial team of psychologists of color and was published in 2020 in the journal The Counseling Psychologist and the framework itself is based on decades of theorizing and research by Black Latinos and other researchers of color,” explained Anne Saw.

Japanese Americans are unique, because they have very different generational experiences, in the show you have Asian immigrants who have to deal with some loss of culture, the loss of ways of life and then the way that this was connected, so They have very particular problems that must be addressed.

Read more at Peninsula 360