March 19, 2021

Countering the surge in Asian American discrimination

$5.4 million in grant funding is intended to prevent future racist acts and address xenophobia related to COVID-19.

Contact: Hilary Costa

Kaiser Permanente, the nation’s largest integrated, nonprofit health care organization, has committed $5.4 million to combat the surge in violence against people of Asian descent and to support the rights, health, and wellness of the Asian, Native Hawaiian, and Pacific Islander communities. Racial prejudice toward these groups predates the COVID-19 pandemic but has recently increased as pejorative connections between COVID-19 and people of Asian heritage have fueled xenophobic, anti-Asian sentiment and hate crimes.

Approved by its board of directors on March 10, Kaiser Permanente’s commitment is intended to help prevent further racist acts, provide interventions when they occur, and promote healing in communities that have been discriminated against. Asian Americans, Native Hawaiians, and Pacific Islanders represent 34% of Kaiser Permanente employees, and 23% of its 12.4-million-person membership.

“Kaiser Permanente recognizes the pain that many of our employees, members, and communities are experiencing due to the unacceptable increase in assaults, harassment, and hate crimes directed at people of Asian descent — including the tragic March 16 attacks in Atlanta,” said Greg A. Adams, Kaiser Permanente chair and chief executive officer. “As a health care organization, we understand that it is fundamentally impossible to achieve emotional or physical well-being when subjected to violence, racism, and other forms of discrimination, and so stand firmly against all forms of social injustice.”

The grant recipients include 2 organizations that advocate nationally for Asian American, Native Hawaiian, and Pacific Islander communities: Asian Americans Advancing Justice — AAJC and Stop AAPI Hate. According to Stop AAPI Hate, the group received reports of 3,292 incidents in 2020 involving verbal harassment, avoidance/shunning, physical assault, vandalism, and other forms of discrimination. Nearly 45% of those incidents took place in California.

Asian Americans Advancing Justice — AAJC, a national nonprofit in Washington, D.C., that advocates for the civil and human rights of Asian Americans and underserved allied communities, will assist in redistributing grant funds to community-based organizations where Kaiser Permanente operates and will work with 4 other independent organizations in the Advancing Justice affiliation

“Advancing Justice — AAJC is honored to be in partnership with Kaiser Permanente,” said John C. Yang, president and executive director of Asian Americans Advancing Justice — AAJC. “Too often Asian American communities are overlooked because of the harmful ‘model minority’ myth or targeted because of the perpetual foreigner stereotypes that exist. This significant funding provides a robust opportunity to address anti-Asian hate through collaboration between local community organizations and a national response.”

Grant funding will be used to:

  • Advance the civil and human rights of Asian Americans, Native Hawaiians, and Pacific Islanders through education, advocacy, and community building
  • Address misinformation and xenophobia, and increase reporting of hate targeting the Asian American, Native Hawaiian, and Pacific Islander communities
  • Strengthen infrastructure within regional community-based organizations for preventing racist attacks, intervening when they occur, and promoting healing

These grants are part of Kaiser Permanente’s broad, established commitment to improve health equity and address racism in the communities it serves. Partnering with organizations that have a trusted presence within communities is a long-standing priority for the organization. 

About Kaiser Permanente

Kaiser Permanente is committed to helping shape the future of health care. We are recognized as one of America’s leading health care providers and not-for-profit health plans. Founded in 1945, Kaiser Permanente has a mission to provide high-quality, affordable health care services and to improve the health of our members and the communities we serve. We currently serve 12.4 million members in 8 states and the District of Columbia. Care for members and patients is focused on their total health and guided by their personal Permanente Medical Group physicians, specialists, and team of caregivers. Our expert and caring medical teams are empowered and supported by industry-leading technology advances and tools for health promotion, disease prevention, state-of-the-art care delivery, and world-class chronic disease management. Kaiser Permanente is dedicated to care innovations, clinical research, health education, and the support of community health.