On March 23, I participated in a one-hour bystander training jointly led by Hollaback! and Asian Americans Advancing Justice. The content and presentation were excellent. The trainers focused on anti-Asian and xenophobic harassment and began with a very brief history of the Chinese Exclusion Act, which prohibited immigration of all Chinese laborers in 1882; the Japanese internment, which incarcerated 120,000+ Japanese Americans in relocation camps in the 1940s; the post-9/11 harassment and over-policing of Muslim, Arab, and South Asian communities since 2001; and the tragic mass shooting of eight victims, six of whom were Asian women, in Atlanta on March 16, 2021.

The trainers then shared Hollaback!’s “5D” taxonomy for how to show up for one another. The first D is to Distract the harasser—drop your drink or a book. Next, Delegate by asking someone else to get help while you stay with the targeted person. The third D is to Document – take a photo or video that you can later give to the person who was being harassed,  and the fourth D stands for Delay which refers to checking back in with the person – even a smile can help! The fifth and final D stands for Direct. The trainers emphasized that there are different levels of confrontation from “What’s going on here?” to “Hey! Stop doing that!” and recommended that folks tailor their Direct responses.

Both trainers were engaging and clear, and they used a good number of polls to provide the opportunity for participant engagement. Towards the end of the presentation, the trainers put up hypothetical situations to see how well participants could think through how they would want to show up. At that point, they opened up the chat so that everyone who had joined could read all the comments. Their next two trainings will be on Tuesday, April 21, at 3 pm, and Thursday, April 23, at 7 pm. I highly recommend attending!