Bank of America Ups Equality Pledge to $1.25 Billion Amid Anti-Asian Racism

Bank of America Corp. pledged an additional $250 million toward its push to advance racial equality, adding more programs that advocate for Asian Americans to its existing initiatives.

The lender will commit $1.25 billion over five years, expanding an earlier pledge of $1 billion over four years, to support investments that address racial justice and advocate for equality for people and communities of color, including those of Asian descent, the bank said Tuesday in a statement. It allocated an immediate $1 million to advocacy and engagement efforts with the Asian-American community, including a grant to Asian Americans Advancing Justice, a nonprofit group.

“The rising number of attacks against Asian people, including the tragic shootings in Atlanta recently, have served as a stark reminder that we must stand united against discrimination, hate speech and violence,” Vice Chairman Thong Nguyen said in the statement. “We will not tolerate acts of racism in any form.”

The March 16 shootings at spas in Atlanta that killed eight people -- six of them Asian women -- punctuated a surge of anti-Asian violence across the U.S. An estimated 3,800 hate incidents against Asian Americans have been recorded since the pandemic began, according to the tracking initiative Stop AAPI Hate. Many U.S. business leaders have condemned racism in the wake of the violent incidents.

“We’ve witnessed increased racism and violence against Asian Americans, underlining the significant need for tools and resources to combat these, as well as a need for culturally specific mental health and victim-support resources,” Connie Chung Joe, chief executive officer of Asian Americans Advancing Justice in Los Angeles, said in the statement.

Bank of America said it added Chung Joe to its national community advisory council.

“The urgency we feel to address longstanding issues of inclusion and racial inequality has only increased following the attacks and hate speech directed at Asian people over the last year,” Bank of America CEO Brian Moynihan said in the statement. “It is clear that we must do more.”

©2021 Bloomberg L.P.

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