Building Empathy through Storytelling: AAPI Heritage Month

In the past few years, we have seen a startling rise in anti-Asian hate crimes and violence. This year’s Asian American Pacific Islander (AAPI) Heritage Month feels less like a celebration and more like an urgent call to action to end this horrific trend. As communicators and PR professionals, our industry has an opportunity and obligation to stand up against anti-Asian hate and racial injustice in general. One way we can do this is by amplifying stories from Asian American communities. For AAPI Heritage Month, several APCO employees provided their own testimonies, woven together in a short video, in order to celebrate and enhance understanding of our community’s lived experience.

Storytelling is one of the most important tools in our arsenal as communications professionals, and it’s one of the most powerful ways to promote equity and inclusion. It is also a potent device we have for combating minority myths associated with AAPI individuals. These individuals are often treated as a monolith, but when we listen to their unique stories, we can see that the AAPI community is actually incredibly diverse. The community encompasses many different cultures, languages, histories and beliefs, all of which have played a critical role in the American narrative. Listening to these stories helps us all become better allies in the fight against racial bias and hate.

For companies looking to foster trust with their own employees, a good place to start is by providing them with a platform to speak their truths. A company is its people, and when given the opportunity, employee storytelling will reflect the company’s mission, vision and values in the most authentic way possible. Doing this not only humanizes a brand, but also chips away at institutional and individual biases and prejudices. Ultimately, when employees of all backgrounds are allowed to flourish, the company benefits from their diverse backgrounds, ideas and skillsets.

Everyone has a story, and every employee can be a storyteller. It’s an honor to share our stories and live APCO’s values of empathy and inclusivity.

This video was edited by APCO Alum Patrick Foust.