By Zane Venture Fund team member Naomi Chao
I’m half Chinese and half Caucasian, and I’ve never been the most connected to my Asian heritage. Growing up in San Francisco and attending all public schools, I had the privilege of growing up in an environment in which being Asian never really felt like being a minority. But there was always the sense that if you were mixed race, it would be better for you to lean into the non-Asian part of yourself.
Growing up in that kind of bubble, my experience is far from that of most Asian Americans. I’ve only really started taking ownership of the Asian half of me in the wake of the Stop Asian Hate movement, and I regret not having supported my community sooner. It’s easy to overlook this country’s history of discrimination and oppression against Asians and blame the rise of Asian hate solely on COVID-19. The lessons I was taught from the Asian side of my family were that of remaining humble and never complaining. Always support others, but don’t ask for support for yourself. The pandemic, combined with hurtful rhetoric from hateful people, was like throwing oil onto an already burning fire.
It’s hard to find a silver lining in what’s basically a five-alarm fire, but if there was one I would say it’s that previously underestimated problems are now being illuminated. The Black and Asian communities are standing up together and for one another to create change. Both communities recognize that we share a common enemy and a common goal.
The enemy: racism and oppression. The goal: equity and justice.
People are moving closer to achieving that goal in different ways. Some people are raising awareness and educating others through social media. Some are signing petitions and making donations, and others are doing countless other things.
One of the ways I’m effecting change is through Zane Venture Fund. Zane is unique in so many ways, from its team to its commitment to diversity. The support I’ve received here is astronomical. A lot of organizations shy away from hot topics, but Zane’s GP Shila made sure to check in with me around Chinese New Year and ask if there was anything she could do to support the community. That was even before the March 16th Atlanta shooting, after which the Zane team gave me the space to write this piece.
The work Zane is doing to close the wealth gap and support diverse founders is still in its earliest stages. I don’t doubt that the change they affect throughout the Southeast in terms of access to funding for underserved founders and support for the Atlanta VC ecosystem will only continue to grow.
In the meantime, if you’re looking for ways to help stop Asian hate, here are two resources to get you started:
Stop Asian Hate
Over the past year, members of the Asian American and Pacific Islander communities have been targeted by racism and…