Diversity Equity and Inclusion: CRF Stands Against Anti-Asian Hate and Violence

By: Frank Altman, founding CRF CEO

The violence we have seen against Asian Americans and immigrant-owned businesses is abhorrent to everything we stand for at CRF. In 2020, racial-based bias crimes against people of Asian descent increased by 150 percent nationwide and as much as 800 percent in places like New York City.

Sadly, even as we celebrate Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month, these racist attacks have become too frequent and have torn the fabric of our diverse communities, not to mention our diverse CRF family of business owners, partners and employees.  

We must mend these damages and ensure that all people of color, immigrants and other marginalized people can live their lives proudly and fully, free from the violence and discrimination that have permeated our country for too long. That commitment to diversity, inclusion and equity is the foundation upon which CRF is built. 

As part of its commitment to diversity, CRF’s mission-driven work empowers BIPOC-, women- and immigrant-owned businesses to be beacons of opportunity in the communities where they operate. But economic inclusion alone is not enough; we must strive to change attitudes and reveal the systemic inequities that have kept women and people of color marginalized in business and in society.  

That’s why CRF created its Diversity, Equity and Inclusion committee (DEI) – to educate our own staff, our partners, and our supporters about the roots of discrimination and how to overcome generations of inequity in lending. With our community partners here in Minneapolis and across the country, we are bringing diverse voices to a national conversation about race and economics that aims to establish real and lasting change in the fight against racism. 

Former Minnesota Vikings defensive tackle Esera Tuaolo, an American of Samoan descent and co-founder of anti-discrimination nonprofit Hate is Wrong, recently talked with the CRF team about preventing racism, sexism and homophobia and promoting youth anti-bullying efforts. He told our team that, while the world is full of hate, education is the best form of self-defense against discrimination in all of its forms.  

Tuaolo reinforced to us that racism is a learned behavior; we are not born to hate. And despite a long history of racist violence here in the U.S. and all over the world, we have the power to educate those who have been taught racism, and we have a duty to empower those whose voices are unheard.  

We urge everyone to stand beside their diverse friends and neighbors and be champions for their safety and liberty by pushing back on racist attitudes and behaviors. Our communities would not be as rich or creative without the rich tapestry of culture that people of color, immigrants and women bring to our lives.  

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