Hathaway-Sycamores’ Wendy Wang Joins the Conversation About Anti-Asian Racism & Behavioral Health

Posted by on May 27, 2021 in Featured Slider, News | 0 comments

Hathaway-Sycamores Wendy WangOn May 21, Hathaway-Sycamores Vice President of Public Policy and Advocacy Wendy Wang took part in a webinar, Stop The Hate: A Conversation About Anti-Asian Racism & Behavioral Health, hosted by the California Council of Community Behavioral Health Agencies (CBHA). In the virtual webinar, legislators and community representatives stood with the AAPI community, highlighted current legislation and best practices, and discussed what our state and county are doing to address the racism that the AAPI community is experiencing. Anti-Asian racism is not a new problem in our country, but it has been amplified during the pandemic.

Hathaway-Sycamores President & CEO Debra Manners, the incoming president of CBHA, provided the introduction to the webinar, speaking about our collective hope for a just and equitable society where all people are treated with dignity and respect. Congresswoman Judy Chu, CA-District 27 and Congresswoman Doris Matsui, CA-District 6 gave opening remarks and shared legislative updates. (President Biden signed the COVID 19 Hate Crimes Act the previous day.)

The Legislative Panel included Congressman Ami Bera, CA-District 7; State Senator Dave Min, Senate District, 37; Assemblymember Ash Kalra, Assembly District 27; and Councilmember Mai Vang, Sacramento City Council, District 8. Panelists shared their experiences serving as an AAPI legislator, challenges faced since the recent surges in hate crimes and what actions the community can take to fix anti-hate.

Hathaway-Sycamores’ Wendy Wang co-moderated the Member & Community Agency Panel. Panelists answered questions and shared their personal journeys as members of the AAPI community. Members of the panel talked about the sense of feeling “other” – sometimes through subtle hints but also more directly. One of those examples included a classmate, when Wendy was in first grade, making fun of her because of her English/pronunciation. The direct correlation between violence and racism being experienced, and mental health concerns, was discussed. As was the need to provide better mental health access in the AAPI community by reducing both language barriers and stigma.

Wendy Wang shared her personal story as an immigrant born in Taiwan who moved to the US in the early 1980s. Like many immigrant families, Wendy grew up in a three-generation household. The influence of her grandparents and the values they instilled in her are fundamental to who she is today. She acclimated quickly to American culture and excelled in school, but experienced the tension of being pulled in two different directions, as she also wanted to hold onto her Chinese/Taiwanese culture that shaped her. Wendy also discussed her awareness that becoming a doctor, engineer, lawyer, or scientist would be the pathway for her family to be proud of her. Community mental health and nonprofit work were not included on the “accepted” list. Even so, Wendy shares, “I am super grateful for the totality of my experiences, for my parents, their stories about their anti-Asian experiences that they had seen early on in my life. I take all of that into the work I do, and the work Hathaway-Sycamores does.”

At Hathaway-Sycamores Wendy is the Vice President of Public Policy and Advocacy and is also the Co-Chair of our Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (DEI) Advisory Committee, charged with identifying areas and policies within the organization that can be improved to promote diversity and inclusion of perspectives and experiences. Additionally, the DEI Advisory Committee has established a separate policy platform focused on systemic inequities experienced by many of our consumers, their families and our staff.

Acts of hate towards the Asian American and Pacific Islander communities can be reported at Stop AAPI Hate.

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