In response to the alarming surge in hate incidents targeting the Asian American community, Asian Americans Advancing Justice-Los Angeles, a leading legal and civil rights organization, is launching its first-ever bystander intervention initiative.

The effort includes the debut of a public service announcement narrated by actor Ken Jeong and an ongoing series of free training workshops, both designed to promote awareness and usage of bystander intervention methods. Intended to prevent verbal harassment from escalating into physical violence, these techniques offer everyday people the chance to assist victims and play a role in keeping their communities safe.

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“5 Ds of Bystander Intervention”

Created in partnership with Hollaback!, a nonprofit working to end harassment in all its forms, both the trainings and PSA are based on the “5 Ds of bystander intervention,” which are different methods a person can use to help victims of harassment. These are:

Distract: De-escalating the situation by starting a conversation with the victim or finding another way to draw attention away from them

Delegate: Finding someone in a position of authority and asking them for help

Delay: Checking in with the victim after the incident is over

Direct: Speaking up about the harassment

Document: Recording a video of the incident

Public Service Announcement

Featuring the work of award-winning illustrator James Yang and the voice of Jeong, the animated PSA — available in 30-second and 90-second versions — provides a brief overview of the “5 Ds of bystander intervention.” The spot will air throughout Southern California on television and radio stations and is available online. Recorded in English, the digital version of the PSA will have optional subtitles in five Asian languages: Chinese, Korean, Tagalog, Thai and Vietnamese.

Free Training Workshops

Advancing Justice-L.A. has begun conducting free one-hour bystander intervention training workshops. Facilitated by the staff of Advancing Justice and other Asian Pacific Islander community-based organizations who will be a mix of bilingual and English-speaking, the trainings will serve predominantly the Southern California community. Trainings will initially be offered in English and later this year in Chinese, Korean, Tagalog, Thai and Vietnamese.

Future curriculum enhancements will be made for first-generation immigrants and youth in schools. Trainings will be held virtually and then in combination with in-person training as COVID-19 restrictions allow. To register, go to:

“We know that members of our community are hurt and enraged. One of the most asked questions we hear is, ‘What can I do?’ We believe that bystander intervention empowers every person with actionable ways to make a difference,” said Connie Chung Joe, chief executive officer of Advancing Justice-L.A. “We hope that our training and PSA will help as many people as possible stand in unity and to look after each other. This will be one of our answers to that question.”

“Asian Americans are fed up with the growing number of incidents of hate and racism. It’s time to turn to solutions that every single person can embrace no matter what walk of life,” said Jeong. “As humans, we need to continue to listen, learn, love but now it’s time to take action — safely and together.”

“With this scary new environment, it’s important for everyone to know how to prevent a situation from getting out of control. It’s an honor to collaborate on a project that’s both personal and much needed,” said Yang. ”I’m an optimist and think a better world is not just a fantasy.”

Since the outbreak of COVID-19, nearly 4,000 incidents of anti-Asian harassment and violence have been reported. Advancing Justice-L.A.’s anti-discrimination work also includes:

• Legal and victim assistance in multiple Asian languages through toll-free helplines

• Free consultation, advice, and representation with licensed attorneys

• Community education with a focus on limited-English, low-income, immigrant members

• Policy advocacy for increased federal and state victim support and community-based solutions to hate and racism

• Demographic data and research critical to understanding the diverse complexities of all ethnicities that comprise the Asian American, Native Hawaiian, and Pacific Islander community as a whole

• Victim advocate review of incidents reported on

This work is made possible with support from Bank of America, Cedars-Sinai, Farmers Insurance, JPMorgan Chase, Panda Express, #StartSmall, and Zwift.

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