Stopping Asian Hate Starts with You
Sanjiv Yajnik calls on businesses, political leaders and community leaders to join Capital One in taking a stand against racism
Last year, Sanjiv Yajnik, President of Financial Services at Capital One, called on businesses, political leaders and community leaders in Dallas-Fort Worth to join Capital One in taking a stand to fight against deep-rooted and systemic racism.
This May, in honor of Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month, he’s asking once again for people to condemn all acts of hate and violence that could threaten the safety of our communities. Read what he has to say below.
A Call to Stop Asian Hate
Hate crimes targeting Asian Americans in major U.S. cities have spiked significantly over the past year, with new stories and statistics being released week after week. My heart breaks as I read individual accounts of unspeakable acts of violence occurring across the country. It’s unfathomable to blame Asian Americans for the economic, social and personal impacts of the pandemic. This must end, and it is why Capital One is doing everything in its power to promote safety and belonging at work and in our communities to #StopAsianHate.
Racial violence erodes our physical and psychological well-being, and brings to the surface our deepest fears and anxieties. Like many, I feel deeply disturbed and upset by the recent increase in violent, racist attacks against Asian Americans, and I don’t believe my role is to be silent. I care a great deal for the community where I live and work, and I’m committed to doing everything in my power to promote safety and belonging.
Having worked in many parts of the world, I’ve discovered a fundamental paradox in people. While we’re absolutely similar in our common humanity, we have a lot of rich diversity when it comes to our backgrounds and cultures. I’ve found that when you bring the two together – our common humanity and our rich diversity – you can drive bold innovation that you could not otherwise create.
Communities thrive in places where people are willing to open up and build genuine trust and meaningful relationships. Within every vibrant region is an ecosystem of startups, corporations, government entities and nonprofits working together to ensure the success of a community. We must celebrate our similarities and cherish our differences, or we will not cultivate the richness and creativity that drives the success of this beautiful city I call home. Now is the time to pull together as a community to eliminate racism and bullying.
Standing in Unity Against Injustice
Within Capital One, we have asked every employee to stand in solidarity against racism and discrimination of all kinds. As the Executive Sponsor for our Asian American and Pacific Islander (AAPI, also known as API) Employee Resource Group, Origins, we have been hosting internal townhalls and meetings to create a safe place for API associates to have real, raw conversations where they are free to express themselves and to give guidance to allies.
Outside of our four walls, we are committed to fighting injustices against the API community through philanthropic and advocacy efforts. During debate over the COVID-19 Hate Crimes Act in Congress, Capital One sent a letter to U.S. House Democratic and Republican leadership expressing our strong support for the legislation, which will address the rise in hate crimes against Asian Americans during the coronavirus pandemic. The bill, which had been approved in the U.S. Senate on a rare bipartisan vote of 94 to 1, ultimately passed the House with broad bipartisan support and was signed into law by President Biden on May 20. We are proud to have supported the enactment of a new law to equip law enforcement and communities in addressing the rise of violence and harassment against the AAPI community.
As we continue our fight against injustices, we also announced an Employee Matching Gift Program with Capital One matching dollar-for-dollar all donations made by associates through June to:
- Asian Americans Advancing Justice
- Asian American Legal Defense and Education Fund
- National Coalition of Asian Pacific American Community Development
- OCA Asian Pacific American Advocates
Additionally, we were proud to join more than 100 companies pledging support of the COVID-19 Action Agenda put forth by Ascend, the largest nonprofit Pan-Asian organization for business professionals in North America. Our Dallas Origins chapter has partnered with Ascend since 2018 to promote inclusion and development for the AAPI community.
Our solidarity with the AAPI community builds on our broader work to advance racial and economic equity through the Capital One Impact Initiative, which promotes socioeconomic mobility by advocating for an inclusive society, building thriving communities and creating financial tools that enrich lives. Last year, as part of this, we announced our pledge to organizations advancing the cause of social justice for Black communities. I continue to be inspired by the generosity and heart of our associates who desire to make a difference.
If you look at Capital One and the success we’ve enjoyed, you can point to any number of game-changing innovations born out of our culture of diversity, inclusion and belonging. When teams made up of a wide range of backgrounds and cultures get together and challenge each other's ideas and perceptions, it makes our final products that much richer and more dynamic.
Please let us not lose sight that diversity is the lifeblood of a great community. What lies ahead is a momentous opportunity to stand up for one another and fight against injustice. It is up to each of us to make it happen. Are you with me?