ECAASU 2014: Mission Ignition-Champion Your Cause
The theme of this year’s ECAASU conference is “Mission Ignition-Champion Your Cause.” This was a momentous event as this was the first intercollegiate conference ever held in the history of ECAASU since its creation in 1978. This year’s ECAASU conference was presented by a coalition of students from George Washington University, Georgetown University, American University, the University of Maryland-College Park and other schools along the East Coast. This year’s theme was specifically conceived in order to inspire conference attendees to choose their own mission and be the champion of their own cause in their community. I found that I gleaned the most practical information from one of the workshops entitled, “Clash of Corporate Politics: Defense” presented by Mr. Vincent Yee. Mr. Yee gave us a glimpse into the world of corporate politics in which people are constantly aiming for higher positions and the opportunities to obtain more responsibility…even attempting to take their other coworkers’ work as well. It is essentially an extremely cut-throat environment and I sincerely write that it is important to be equipped with Mr. Yee’s ten, defensive lessons and tactics to combat any issue in the corporate world. Mr. Yee took us step-by-step through these lessons with the purpose of giving Asian Americans (and other minorities) the tools to defend themselves when placed in high-pressure environments. The AAPI population continues to face micro-aggressions in the work place as well as full-frontal racism and prejudice. Mr. Yee spoke of how he was in a boardroom and one of his coworkers outrightly compared him to Jackie Chan. Funnily enough, he gave a sassy retort right back to his coworker saying that he was fat. Therefore it is key to confront the issue right away and to not back down from a challenge. In the business world, it is important to be feared as well as respected. You can’t be nice to everyone and must defend your position. Mr. Yee gave us tactics in response to issues such as people stealing credit for your work, backstabbing, being ambushed, and exclusion, to name a few examples. There is a misconception that the AAPI community is invisible, cannot speak up for themselves, and is weak. Mr. Yee tells us how we can combat these stereotypes and challenge these misconceptions by speaking up and having our voices be heard.
I found that this workshop was very honest and practical. I am a senior and am currently on the job market. Therefore I want to be prepared for any of the aforementioned issues that can arise and to not fall under the label of a timid, Asian American woman who cannot defend herself. On the other hand, I am a strong, American woman with an opinion, and I want to be respected. The tactics that I have learned will be shared with Asian Student Union (ASU). I want to share this knowledge that I have gained with the hope that there will never be an AAPI individual who feels invisible or weak due to a lack of knowledge of what to say to stand up to micro-aggressions and racist comments. This workshop was very powerful and educational to say the least, and I hope others within the AAPI population in the UR community will benefit from these lessons and tactics.
March 4, 2014