LEAP Stands with the AAPI Community and is Committed to Inclusive Economic Development in the Lansing Region

Statement from LEAP President and CEO Bob Trezise

LEAP president and CEO Bob Trezise

At LEAP, we recognize that the most prosperous communities are those that are most inclusive and most willing to provide pathways to fulfillment for all people. As the regional economic development organization for Clinton, Eaton and Ingham counties, we take the charge to advance economic prosperity equitably for all residents of greater Lansing seriously.

In the wake of the recent attacks against Asian American and Pacific Islander (AAPI) businesses and people in Atlanta, which resulted in the deaths of six AAPI women, we find it imperative to reaffirm our organizational commitment to denounce all forms of systemic harm, racism, discrimination and violence against all historically disenfranchised populations, including AAPI.

Discrimination against any population has profound social and economic impacts on entire communities. According to Stop AAPI Hate, businesses are the primary discrimination site, accounting for 35.4% of AAPI hate incidents logged last year. These hateful attacks are devastating to local small-business communities, especially when compounded by the effects of COVID-19, which also brought about increased anti-Asian sentiment. According to the Center for the Study of Hate and Extremism, anti-Asian hate crimes surged 145% in 2020, while overall hate crime dropped by 6%.

The Lansing region has a rich array of AAPI-owned businesses and has celebrated consistent population growth over the past decade due in large part to more and more Asian-born people making Lansing their home. Currently, Lansing’s AAPI community accounts for 4.69% of the region’s total population.

Our diversity is vital to our society and our economy. Nourishing an inclusive and welcoming community is a growth strategy that strengthens the Lansing economy and is the key to our future prosperity.

As LEAP continues to build the foundation for its Department of Equitable Economic Planning, understanding the unique areas of need for all of Lansing’s distinct communities is imperative, including recognizing the current underservice to greater Lansing’s AAPI business community and working to understand the types of support they need to succeed.

If you are an AAPI business owner and would like to start a conversation about the support or resources you would like to see most, contact Tony Willis, LEAP’s chief equity development officer.