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A letter to the reflect community from our CEO about anti-Asian violence

Credit: David Ryder

Dear reflect community,

As a Vietnamese-American child of refugees, I am heartbroken by the recent shootings in Atlanta and the surge in anti-Asian violence over the past year. Seeing members of our community -- particularly the elderly -- getting harassed, beaten, and killed, I can’t help but imagine my Ông Ngoại (grandfather), family, friends, and even myself being next.

Sadly, this is part of a long history of AAPI hate in America.

And this story is all too familiar. Many of us in the Asian community grew up being teased and bullied for looking different or eating different food at lunch. We have been called names and told to “go home.” This complex trauma can manifest over years or decades. It can cause each of us to not feel seen, or not feel deserving. It’s more than just a harmless joke. Words matter.

Now is no time to stay silent.

I recently read a HuffPost piece about what it’s like to be Asian in America in 2021. While every experience is different, it really spoke to me.

Growing up, I was taught to keep my head down, stay quiet, and work hard to achieve the American dream. But the myth of the “Model Minority” is just that -- a myth. No amount of hard work or pacifism can guarantee safety. More importantly, no amount of hard work or pacifism should be required to guarantee safety. We all have the right to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness -- no matter what we look like, where we come from, or who we love.

At reflect, we believe everyone should feel safe. We stand with our community and against hate. 40% of our providers are therapists of color because representation matters, especially in mental health.

To the AAPIs in our community, you are seen. And you deserve to be here. As do I.

For anyone who may be having a tough time, please know we are here to support you. Whether you’ve been personally impacted or are trying to make sense of what you’re feeling, we invite you to talk with your therapist. The current events are certainly a topic I will bring up in my next therapy session.

Despite this racism and violence, I choose hope. As Martin Luther King, Jr. said, “The arc of the moral universe is long, but it bends toward justice.” Our country has its first Vice President of Asian descent (and first female Vice President!), and just this week, Katherine Tai was confirmed as the United States Trade Representative. We, as a community, are finding our voice and standing with others to demand justice. That’s the real American dream we should all be fighting for.


Jonathan TranPham

Founder/CEO, reflect

PS: if you’re looking for resources to educate yourself or take action, please click here.


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