Earlier this year I wrote a blog about Racial Equity. As a female Asian American, I am keenly sensitive to issues of diversity and inclusion.
In May I participated in the 21-Day AAPI Racial Equity Habit-Building Challenge that the American Bar Association (ABA), through its Diversity and Inclusion Center, organized. For 21 days beginning on May 10, the ABA sent an email filled with resources, including readings and videos, that educated me on issues of racial equity. Through reading and watching individuals’ stories, historical documentaries, inspirational presentations, and other resources, I was challenged to be more outspoken about racial equity and to share with others my personal story, as well as the ABA’s materials that raise awareness and knowledge on this challenging and crucial problem.
Last month I attended a 4-day program presented by the ABA, which was its Inaugural Equity Summit: Advancing Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion in the Legal Profession and Beyond. It was a virtual program, with over 20 hours of presentations, panels, films, and discussions on Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (DEI) issues in law firms and in the workplace. The highlight was a one-hour “chat” with Associate Justice Sonia Sotomayor, who has served on the United States Supreme Court since 2009. Justice Sotomayor, a woman of Puerto Rican descent, grew up in the Bronx. She had humble beginnings, but she was taught by her family to believe in herself and to aspire to great things.
As I reflect on the opportunities I have had to attain my personal and professional goals, I am reminded that not everyone is as fortunate as I have been. As I said in my earlier blog, there are many examples of systemic injustice, cultural and language barriers, and historical obstacles that keep the American Dream out of reach for many people in our country.
And the barriers affect more than members of racial minorities. People encounter barriers – legal, cultural, and social – on account of their being members based on ethnicity, gender, sexual orientation, and gender identity, disability and multiculturalism. As an Asian American, my life experience includes being marginalized and viewed as “the other.” I wish to express my values of inclusivity and openness to others, regardless of their ethnicity, racial ancestry, gender-identity, sexual orientation, gender expression, disability or multiculturalism.
That is one reason why I include at the bottom of my emails my preferred pronouns (“she/her/hers”). “She/her/hers” are the pronouns that I like people to use when referring to me — which aren’t really a surprise, because that is probably what you would have assumed. But for some people, especially transgender people, it isn’t so obvious what pronouns they would want others to use in reference to them. By putting my pronouns in my email, I am letting people know that I am aware of this fact. In turn, they then know they can trust me to use whatever pronouns they want me to use and that I support the right of everyone to identify their true selves. To me, it’s a diversity, equity and inclusion issue, about which I am passionate.
I welcome your questions and/or offers for further dialogue.