Only 2.3% of the communications industry is made up of Asian Americans, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. That statistic spurred the formation of VOICES, a new organization by and for communicators of Asian American and Pacific Islander descent, which held its inaugural panel discussion on March 1.
Panelists discussed their reasons for forming VOICES, highlighting their intentions to using their skills as communicators to challenge stereotypes amid a rise in acts of violence against the AAPI community and create a mentorship pipeline to support AAPI students who are just beginning their careers.
“There’s something to be said for being able to look up and see someone like you in a place where you think you want to go,” said moderator Patricia Ratulangi, VP of global communications at Nielsen.
Widening the frame of visibility
Soon Mee Kim, chief diversity equity and inclusion officer at Omnicom PR Group, asked attendees to visualize the Golden Spike Ceremony that marked the completion of the Transcontinental Railroad in 1869. She described a famous photo that included people cheering and toasting – but excluded the over 20,000 Chinese immigrants who were largely responsible for building the railroad.