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Embracing our differences in the face of discrimination

Since COVID-19 hit the United States, there has been an increase in hate crimes and, in one area - due simply to their heritage - an increase in discrimination focused on Asian-American and Pacific-Islander (AAPI) communities, including here in our own backyard.

Last week's shooting of six Asian women in Atlanta has sparked conversation around these experiences. Some of our own neighbors, colleagues, friends and family members have become targets of people's misdirected hate, anger and frustration.

The Stop AAPI Hate reporting center has documented nearly 3,800 self-reported cases of anti-Asian bias over the last year, including 42 in Minnesota. It is reasonable to assume there are many more unreported incidents. 

The Metropolitan Airports Commission's (MAC) Office of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion condemns hate and discrimination of all types and is dedicated to preventing and rectifying discriminatory practices.

We are always available to assist MAC employees, airport staff and airport passengers if they experience or witness bias and discrimination. This is the time for the airport community to listen, validate and support our co-workers, communities and neighbors.

We can all use our voices to speak out in solidarity and create a more equitable future. Each of us has the power to make a difference by simply being kind and being an ally against hate. 

There are many options and resources available if you witness or experience bullying, harassment, bias and/or discrimination:

  • Contact MAC's Office of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion at 612-726-8196.
  • Gov. Tim Walz and Lt. Gov. Peggy Flanagan launched a Discrimination Helpline to reinforce the state's efforts to protect the civil rights of Minnesotans during the COVID-19 pandemic. The toll-free helpline number is 1-833-454-0148.
  • Connect with the St. Paul Police Department, which is reaching out to leaders in Asian communities to listen to concerns and offer support. Their patrol officers are also making more trips in and around schools, businesses and neighborhoods where Asian community members gather.

Thank you to the members of the MAC's Employee Equity Advisory Committee for their contributions to this article.