CarePlus NJ webinar to address anti-Asian violence and racism

Webinar, on Wednesday, is 1st in company’s planned Community Education Series

CarePlus NJ officials said their recently formed Inclusion, Diversity, Equity & Action Committee was established to build a culture of equity, inclusion and respect with the organization’s employees and in the communities it serves.

On Wednesday, the IDEA Committee will launch a Community Education Series with a panel discussion titled “Asian American Voices: Addressing Anti-Asian Violence and Racism.”

The webinar, which will take place virtually via Zoom from 5-6 p.m., aims to bring awareness to the increase in documented hate crimes and racism against Asian Americans, provide resources for mental health and social support services, and offer actionable steps individuals and organizations can take to be a part of the solution. Panelists will include:

  • Julie Dines, chair, board of directors, Asian Women Christian Association;
  • Charles Kim, Psychiatric Emergency Screening Program director, CarePlus NJ;
  • Kevin Woo, Korean American Outreach Services, CarePlus NJ;
  • Jane Kim, community member and advocate;
  • Sarinya Srisakul, community member and advocate;
  • Joon Park, community member and advocate;
  • Police Officer Samuel Kim, Ho-Ho-Kus Police Department.

The event is free. You can register here.

Caitlyn Yerves, co-chair of the IDEA Committee and director of communications and advocacy at CarePlus NJ, said the issue is pressing.

“Given the rise in documented hate crimes against the Asian American community and the resulting increase in media attention, we felt this was a timely topic to address in CarePlus NJ’s first panel in our upcoming Community Education Series,” she said. “It is more vital than ever to create an open dialogue around these issues while sharing ways individuals and organizations can be allies as well as take actionable steps to become part of the solution. We look forward to doing so in this event.”

The first event of the series seeks to explore a number of issues surrounding racism and violence against the Asian American community as well as share local resources and support services available through CarePlus NJ and other organizations.

Featuring experts from CarePlus NJ’s Psychiatric Emergency Screening Program and its Korean American Outreach Services program, as well as from the Asian Women Christian Association, the Ho-Ho-Kus Police Department and other community advocates, the discussion will center on the cultural barriers Asian Americans face and how they may impact mental health or access to psychiatric services, how bystanders can report a bias incident or hate crime, and how individuals and organizations can support the community.

With the goal of actively fostering an environment of cultural competency though staff and community education, the IDEA Committee seeks to promote social justice through education and advocacy. In addition to the Community Education Series, the committee is also spearheading several initiatives to transform the organization’s culture from the inside out with weekly staff-to-staff discussions, changes to HR policies and procedures, staff trainings, and community outreach and advocacy.

Giesel Girona, co-chair of the IDEA Committee and associate vice president of work incentive services at CarePlus NJ, said the goal is to increase awareness and help others create a response.

“We established the IDEA Committee as a means to begin to enact tangible change in response to the racial injustice and civil unrest surrounding the killings of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery and too many more,” she said. “The goal is to support and educate ourselves and our employees.”

“Over the past several months, the committee has transformed into something much greater as we began exploring ways to extend our efforts into the Bergen County community to amplify these conversations around systemic racism, implicit bias and other disparities. We look forward to the beginning of our Community Education Series as well as having many productive discussions with community members and local experts in the months to come.”