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Let’s Talk! Supporting Asian and Asian American Students Through COVID-19

logos for let's talk and the mgh center for cross-cultural student emotional wellness

Webinar Series

Thank you for your interest in our webinar series, “Let’s Talk! Supporting Asian and Asian American Students Through COVID-19." This series has been organized through a collaboration between the MGH Institute of Health Professions, the MGH Center for Cross-Cultural Emotional Student Wellness, and the Harvard Graduate School of Education Let’s Talk! Conference.

Webinar #1: Anti-Asian Racism during the COVID-19 Pandemic
Webinar #2: Living Through a Pandemic: Understanding, Coping, and Finding Meaning
Webinar #3: Predictable Parenting for Unpredictable Times: Promoting the Success and Wellbeing of Asian and Asian-American Students through COVID-19
Webinar #4: The Challenges International Students Face During COVID-19 and How Parents Can Be Supportive (Mandarin session)
Webinar #5: Understanding and Supporting Asian International Students during COVID-19
Webinar #6: Asian American Parents: Understanding and Supporting LGBTQ+ Children
Webinar #7: Anti-Blackness and Racism in the Asian Community
Webinar #8: Asian Allyship with the Black Community


Webinar #1: Anti-Asian Racism During the COVID-19 Pandemic

Tuesday, April 21, 2020

This webinar discussion focused on Anti-Asian racism during the COVID-19 pandemic. The target audience is: Asian American students, families, and community members, though attendance was open to all who are interested. The session featured  social justice educators, youth workers, community organizers, and academics.


  • Michael Liu, Ph.D., social justice author, historian, and activist
  • Carolyn Chou, A.B., Executive Director, Asian American Resource Workshop
  • Arshad Ali, Ph.D., Assistant Professor, George Washington University
  • Taharee A. Jackson, Ph.D., Expert Consultant and Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Program Manager, the National Defense University
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Slides from WebinarWebinar Recording

Additional materials and resources from Dr. Taharee Jackson

The following resources provide a historical context for the racialized experiences of Asian Americans in what is currently known as the United States:

Concepts introduced during the webinar include, hegemony, whiteness, and white supremacy. The following publications are available for free download to learn more about these topics:

Ways to support Asian and Asian Americans during this time:

  • Document Anti-Asian racism and violence
  • If you have the financial means, donate to the Asian Community Emergency Relief Fund, MassUndocuFund, or any of the non-profit organizations working with and within these communities. 
  • Complete the 2020 Census and encourage others to complete it as well, especially those from marginalized and minoritized backgrounds that have been historically undercounted. The 2020 Census will determine congressional representation and provide data that will impact communities for the next 10 years, including the allocation of hundreds of billions in federal funding (e.g., SNAP, Medicaid, Head Start, block grants for community mental health services). 
  • Join a mutual aid network
  • Participate in a campaign, such as supporting affordable housing, supporting data disaggregation, fighting Southeast Asian deportation, fighting Anti-Muslim violence, etc.

How do we build coalitions with other marginalized and minoritized populations? How can we start the conversation? 

As Michael, Carolyn, Arshad, and Taharee discussed, Anti-Asian racism is nothing new. The struggle for racial justice has been ongoing. Start by reviewing some of the resources, explore additional learning opportunities, and connect with organizations that have been doing this work.

How do I better understand Asian Black solidarity?

Carolyn referenced an open letter from Freedom Inc.’s Southeast Asian Team on COVID-19 and Black Solidarity. Here is an NPR piece on the model minority myth and how it creates a wedge between Asian and Black communities. Who benefits from this wedge? There is very little data on who is committing Anti-Asian racism and violence but the videos that are going viral are feeding into this wedge narrative, this time perpetuating stereotypes of Black people as violent. Asian and Black communities have been systemically oppressed and we need to work together to dismantle racism. 

How can I be a better White ally and accomplice? 

It takes intentionality and is a lifelong, learning process. Start by reviewing some of the resource materials, explore additional learning opportunities (e.g. , join groups like Showing Up for Racial Justice, and attend conferences like the White Privilege Conference

What is the MGH Institute of Health Professions doing about Anti-Asian racism?

You can report bias affecting MGH Institute of Health Professions students, faculty, and staff through several different ways, including directly with the Office of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion. The mission of our office is to advance diversity, equity, and inclusion at the MGH IHP. We work on improving policies and practices.  The office regularly plans programs and initiatives to raise awareness about marginalized and minoritized communities and provide support for members of our community who come from these communities. Please contact ktruong@mghihp.edu to learn more. 

I have questions that were not answered on the webinar and were not related to an upcoming webinar.

Please direct these questions to Kim Truong, Executive Director of the Office of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion at: ktruong@mghihp.edu

Webinar #2: Living Through a Pandemic: Understanding, Coping, and Finding Meaning

Wed, April 29, 7:00-8:15pm EDT

In this webinar, professionals with experience in education and cross-cultural mental health will provide an overview of common stressors affecting high school and college students and their families during the COVID-19 pandemic, especially Asian American and international students. They will also share helpful coping strategies that can be utilized by students, parents, educators, and institutions to promote mental health and resilience.

  • Justin Chen, MD, MPH; Executive Director, MGH Center for Cross-Cultural Student Emotional Wellness and Assistant Professor, Harvard Medical School
  • Ying Wang, MD; Owner, Bucks Psychiatry, an integrative psychiatric care clinic in Pennsylvania; Columnist, Letters To Strangers
  • Nora Yasumura, MSW; Class Dean at the Hotchkiss School, Diversity Consultant, and former Pan Asian Advisor at Dartmouth College
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Slides from WebinarWebinar Recording

The following information was shared at the webinar:

Asian Americans Advancing Justice in collaboration with Hollaback! is hosting a number of bystander intervention workshops. Find out more.
The MGH Center for Cross-Cultural Student Emotional Wellness has a repository of resources related to COVID-19 with translations in other languages.  Access the information

How are international and East and Southeast Asian young people reacting to perhaps their first experience with anti-Asian racism?

Justin spoke about this a bit immediately after the question was posed. We have another workshop specifically focused on international students and how schools can support them.. 

What advice and suggestions do you have for those who support Asian and Asian American students (beyond sending links to resource pages online)?

At MGH IHP DEI, we are collaborating with colleagues to record a video for how faculty can be supportive of students. Acknowledgment of students' lived experiences may be helpful as well as making space to have conversations about the challenges these students are encountering. You may wish to invite the diversity, equity, and inclusion officer(s) at your institution as well as mental health providers to be present and supportive during these conversations. 

How are schools responding to a racism against Asians that has been often overlooked?  

Different schools are responding in different ways. Some schools, including the MGH Institute of Health Professions, have made public statements acknowledging the existence of anti-Asian racism and inviting members of the school community to engage in allyship. Other schools have not responded to anti-Asian racism.

Are mental health providers in particular discussing this?

Some mental health providers have addressed issues related to coping and responding to trauma related to racism-related stress among Asians and Asian Americans. MGH Institute of Health Professions students have access to EAP and SAP and they can refer students to mental health providers who can support students with these issues.

Are there collective efforts in addressing/healing the trauma from "the majority" which motivates the current anti-Asian attacks?

Showing Up for Racial Justice developed a toolkit recently, related to supporting Asians experiencing trauma. In addition, Asian Americans Advancing Justice in collaboration with Hollaback! is hosting a number of bystander intervention workshops. Find out more.
Why future sessions only in Mandarin Chinese?  Will other programs for other Asian language groups be offered?

We have two webinars focused on parenting. One of them will be in English and the other will be in Mandarin Chinese for how parents can support their children. It is scheduled on a date and time that would engage parents internationally. At this time, we do not have webinars scheduled in other Asian languages.

Webinar #3: Predictable Parenting for Unpredictable Times: Promoting the Success and Wellbeing of Asian and Asian-American Students through COVID-19

Wed, May 6, 4:00-5:15pm EDT

How is COVID-19 impacting student mental health and well-being, and how can parents promote the success and resilience of children and teens under such unusual and uncertain circumstances? During this webinar, professionals with experience in education, child and adolescent development, and mental health will discuss parenting practices and tools that can help to support the well-being of Asian and Asian American students through these unpredictable times. This session is appropriate for parents of school-age children, middle/high school students, and college students.

  • Juliana H. Chen, MD; Associate Director, MGH Center for Cross-Cultural Student Emotional Wellness; Instructor, Harvard Medical School
  • Josephine M. Kim, PhD; Faculty, Harvard Graduate School of Education
  • John Lee, LICSW; Upper School Counselor, Milton Academy
  • Catherine Vuky, PhD; Assistant Professor, William James College; Clinical Supervisor;  South Cove Community Health Center
  • Shubh Agrawal, Ed.M., CAS, School Counselor at Worcester Academy
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Webinar Recording

How can I access the resources Catherine Vuky shared with us about meditation/body scan videos in different languages?

YouTube Link 

I had questions about Asian Americans and schooling. Do you know of other webinars?

There will be an upcoming townhall on May 9, 2020, 2-4pm PST on education & providing a critical hope foundation for students and communities.  The hosts will be Gregory Cendana, Can’t Stop! Won’t Stop! Consulting and Kuttin Kandi, Asian Solidarity Collective. Find out more. RSVP.
I had additional questions related to mental health. Do you have other resources?

The national Asian American Pacific Islander Mental Health Association and ChangeMatrix are hosting an interactive virtual roundtable on May 15, 2020, 3-4:30pm ET. 

Webinar #4: The Challenges International Students Face During COVID-19 and How Parents Can Be Supportive (Mandarin session)

疫情下留学生们正在经历什么?父母该如何支持帮助他们? (中文专场)

Sat, May 9, 9:00-10:30pm EDT

The first half of the webinar will be led by two experts in the fields of college admission and college counseling who will discuss some of the challenges and uncertainties students have experienced under the pandemic, and how U.S. higher education institutions have responded to these situations in order to better support students and families. The second half of the webinar will feature two experts in the field of mental health, one working at a university and the other working closely with Chinese international students and their families. They will discuss some of the mental health issues s many Chinese students and families have experienced due to communication barriers, quarantine, and anti-Asian racism as well as strategies on how to address these challenges. This webinar will be delivered in Mandarin.

  • Percy Jiang, Co-Director of College Counseling at Keystone Academy, Co-Founder of China Institute of College Admission Counseling
  • Xiaofeng Wan, Associate Dean of Admission, Coordinator of International Recruitment at Amherst College
  • Weiyang Xie, Ph.D, Staff Psychologist, University of Notre Dame,University of Notre Dame, WeChat “WeiyangEdPsy”
  • Yi Yang, Ph.D, Psychologist, WeChat "haizichuguohou," Clinical Committee Director, MGH CCCSEW
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Webinar Recording


Webinar #5: Understanding and Supporting Asian International Students during COVID-19

May 23, 8:00PM EDT

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Webinar Recording

In this webinar, we invite professionals, educators and mental health experts to come together to discuss the impact of COVID-19 on international students. Professionals will provide a holistic view of the challenges that international students are facing and ways to support them, institution policies, and best practices. The webinar will provide concrete takeaways and tips to students, parents, and professionals to support international students during this unprecedented time.

The target audience includes international students from high schools, universities (both undergraduate and graduate), parents, and professionals who work closely with this population.


  • Jang-Eun Cho, M.D., Child and Adolescent Psychiatris
  • Andrea Le, Program Coordinator, Office of Student Affairs, Harvard Graduate School of Education
  • Marina Lee, Founder of Cogita Education Initiatives, Chair of Independent Education Consultants Association Global Committee
  • Szu-Hui Lee, Ph.D, ABPP. Director of Counseling and Psychological Services, Phillips Exeter Academy
  • Yi Yang, PhD, Psychologist, WeChat "haizichuguohou," Clinical Committee Director, MGH CCCSEW

Xiaoqiao Zhang, Doctoral Candidate, Director for International Outreach, MGH Center for Cross-Cultural Student Emotional Wellness

Image shows photos of the speakers listed above for webinar 5





















Webinar #6: Asian American Parents: Understanding and Supporting LGBTQ+ Children

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Webinar Recording

Asian American families may often experience misunderstandings and may not feel well equipped to support LGBTQ+ youth due to generational, cultural, and language barriers. Given Pride month, COVID-related mental health challenges, and recent events impacting LGBTQ+ healthcare, we want to create a safe space for Asian American families to learn about and discuss sexuality and gender, and how to best support LGBTQ+ youth. In addition to our speakers and CHIPAO skit, a mother of a transgender child will join our workshop to share her experiences and advice.

Our workshop will include:

  • Speakers from Massachusetts General Hospital and Stanford Medicine
  • An educational role play about coming out
  • A mother of a transgender child will share her experiences and advice

We invite all those who are interested in learning about how to support LGBTQ+ youth - especially parents and caregivers in Asian American families. Participants can remain anonymous, and this event will not be recorded. Registration required for Zoom video conference link.

Can you let me know what virtual meeting resources we can use?  

Virtual Meeting Resources: Poll Everywhere (pollev.com, Padlet (padlet.com), Flip Grid, Kudoboard, and Icebreaker 

Learning Resources

National Queer Asian Pacific Islander Alliance

  • Multilingual Leaflets - Educational fact sheets in over 20 languages geared towards helping AAPI parents learn about LGBTQ+ identity and debunk common stereotypes
  • Family is Still Family – Multilingual PSA campaign – NQAPIA - Videos of LGBTQ+ children and AAPI families
  • Coming Out: Living Authentically as LGBTQ Asian and Pacific Islander Americans by NQAPIA and Human Rights Campaign Foundation (LIVING AUTHENTICALLY): LGBTQ resource guide helping Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders with the coming out process.

Asian and Pacific Islander Family Pride – In API Homes, All Children Are Welcome
•    Organization for LGBTQ+ API families, providing resources and contacts

PFLAG: PFLAG is the first and largest organization for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer (LGBTQ+) people, their parents and families, and allies.

API Equality

Webinar #7: Anti-Blackness and Racism in the Asian Community
July 23, 2020 8:00PM ET

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Webinar Recording

  • Sam Hyun, Commissioner of the Asian-American Commission of Massachusetts
  • Josephine Kim, PhD, Lecturer on Education, Harvard Graduate School of Education
  • Akriti Bhambi, M.Ed., Chief of Staff for MA State Rep Marjorie C. Decker


We would like to acknowledge that the term “Asian American” was developed by Asian American activists, not the US Census Bureau.

How would you talk to your parents or older adults that have immigrated here and found power by putting Black Americans down?

Josephine Kim: I’ve found success by highlighting parallel experiences of oppression, erasure, and marginalization that my family and ethnic group have endured and using those experiences as entry points for soliciting empathy for the Black community. It opens the door to naming the 400+ years of human trafficking, forced labor and slavery, segregation, deprivation, and senseless murders that Blacks have endured. From there, I begin with how much we owe to our Black counterparts, as birthright citizenship, voting rights, and land ownership (amongst a long list) would not have been possible for us without their forging the way.

Bilingual media sources and panel discussions have also been useful. For example, I was part of a bilingual panel discussion where immigrant Korean parents and their adult children tuned in together. We started out with a video (with Korean subtitles) of Black parents speaking with their children about how to respond to the police, and we had immigrant parents crying during the video. The bilingual session sparked conversations between multi-generations, painted a larger systemic and historical picture, and provided new language and words that both generations could use in their subsequent conversations. 

Some pieces of advice would be 1. to not get defensive or angry (as any hint of disrespect may shut down conversations with most older Asians); 2. to validate and listen to the older generation’s experiences of oppression first, so that their hearts and minds can hold greater capacity for empathy to the pain of others; 3. to approach these conversations as a prolonged, persistent interaction and not a one-off conversation. These loaded and sensitive conversations usually can’t happen in one setting, one time. They have to be routine and frequent; and 4. to not forget that a positive rapport buffers the potential falls in difficult conversations; hence, it doesn't hurt to develop the relationship first before broaching sensitive topics.


Webinar #8: Asian Allyship with the Black Community
August 6, 2020, 8:00PM ET

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Webinar Recording

Dr. Vichet Chhuon, associate professor of education and Asian American studies at the University of Minnesota, Kevin Lam, organizing director of the Asian American Resource Workshop, Representative Tram Nguyen, state representative of Massachusetts, and Adhithyan Krishnan, founder and CEO of AK Aveksha, discuss strategies for Asian and Asian American allyship with the Black community at the individual, interpersonal, and systemic levels based on their experiences in academia, grassroots organizing, and policy. This webinar is co-sponsored by The MGH Institute's Office of Justice, Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion.