May marks Asian Pacific Heritage Month in the U.S. to commemorate the rich histories, cultures, and achievements of American citizens whose origins span Southeast Asia, South Asia, and the Pacific Islands. When I reflect on the unique pasts, experiences, and contributions of this region, I continue to be immensely inspired by the diverse communities that comprise the Flex family not only in the U.S., but globally.
In thinking about this year’s observance, the past, present and future come to together to unify understanding and action. On one hand, this serves as a moment to honor our colleagues’ heritage, customs and presence around the world through awareness and celebration. Yet in the same vein, we must also challenge ourselves to have an open dialogue and help address acts of hate and intolerance against this community, taking steps toward a world rooted in acceptance, mutual respect and inclusion.
Going global to further nurture inclusion
Exposure to different cultures and learning how they’ve shaped each of us is fundamental to building greater understanding of one another. At Flex, we are fortunate that our Asia Pacific team members represent a large portion of our ~160,000 workforce, allowing us to nurture and foster learnings from within. This month, we are celebrating our Flex family members of Asian and Pacific descent globally. Through events, activities and discussions, we are proactively engaging and educating our employees about the region’s histories and traditions to help our workforce understand all the ways the organization is enriched by this community’s presence, perspectives and contributions.
We are also launching an Asian Pacific employee resource group (ERG). We have revitalized and formalized ERGs as a way for employees to mobilize around shared interests, provide support to one another, as well as advocate and push for progress. Through these groups, employees are encouraged and empowered to share their thoughts and perspectives to help inform our long-term inclusion and diversity agenda.
Driving dialogue with employees regarding recent violence
When we talk about race relations in this world, we rarely discuss the challenges that the Asian Pacific community faces. It’s past time for that to change. As the veil continues to be lifted from our eyes and we are forced to acknowledge the systemic issues that exist around race and ethnicity globally, we are now tuned into a community who has been suffering in silence. A silence that has become intolerable. When an entire ethnic group is targeted and harmed because of fear or ignorance, we are obligated to act on their behalf. To stand in solidarity with them and say no more will this go on.
Hate crimes against the Asian Pacific community rose 150% in 2020, and that, simply, is unacceptable. To make meaningful progress toward true inclusion and equality, we can’t be blind to the issues that any community faces and are committed to helping our employees inform themselves so they can be a part of the solution. As part of the month’s educational activities, we’re hosting a webinar that will bring internal and external experts together to discuss the global issues the Asian Pacific community is facing and how others can be a good ally and provide support in times of need.
As a company, we are looking forward to partnering with international organizations to further our policies and help our local communities address challenges brought on by the increase in violence against this community.
Another discussion that continues to evolve is through our Global Inclusion Council, which is composed of people from diverse backgrounds and geographies. We ensure Asian Pacific voices, among others, inform our company’s culture through representation. This forum empowers Asian Pacific employees to have an honest conversation about their personal experiences in the workplace and how we can continue to improve.
At Flex, we will continue to adapt, evolve, and refine our I&D initiatives to celebrate cultural moments and educate our entire organization. With these ongoing initiatives as part of our foundation, we aspire to continue fostering a culture that cherishes human differences, different backgrounds, and varying points of view.
Throughout the month, we’ll also feature a few Asian Pacific team members and their incredible stories and contributions. So, stay tuned to hear from this integral part of our Flex family!