Regarding the recent debate re: our sponsorship, we have read the essay/blog posts and we have some questions, in particular, about Ms. Lai Wai Wu and Professor Prashad's recent essay. There are a some assertions made in that essay we don't believe are true, and we are currently trying to get in contact with them to find out what actually happened. We are open minded and willing to listen to everybody who has feedback for the conference, which is why we are trying our best to get in touch with Ms. Lai Wa Wu and Professor Prashad. Stay tuned for an update. To those who are interested in the National Board's original e-mail to Ms. Lai Wa Wu in its full context when she expressed her concerns, please see below.
First, thanks for contacting us with your concern. We definitely appreciate your passion for your cause, and it's really people like you who bring the necessary dialogues about all sorts of issues to the table, who really engages and inspire other ECAASU members.
Having been involved in ECAASU for the past 4 years (first as a conference director, then as national chair, now as Board of Directors member), I have heard these issues raised and have spent a good deal of time thinking about this. ECAASU strives to inspire people to think about these issues, and bring change and more equal opportunity into this world--especially as it relates to Asian Americans. We believe that to do this effectively, we must engage and converse with all different organizations. We are an inclusive organization, and we welcome people from all different socio-economic, political, ethnic, (insert your segmentation of choice) backgrounds to participate in ECAASU. Because of this inclusive culture, we feel it would be against our values to turn down sponsors who want to help promote diversity within their own organization by sponsoring ECAASU or otherwise participating in our programming.
Second, we believe that, like many other organizations, these organizations have a lot to learn from our community and vice versa, and we think the best way to change these organizations is to help them achieve more diversity and understanding of our issues--not to ostracize them. By inviting them to participate in ECAASU, we also give them an opportunity to learn about our issues and think about our issues. We give them the opportunity to recruit from a more diverse pool of applicants so that, in the future, the diversity we can bring to their organization will help them create a better work environment, and drive their strategic future. Isn't this what we all seek to achieve?
Last, we engage with all different types of organizations--from non profits, to corporations, to government and everything in between. I think if you look at our list of sponsors, workshop presenters, and keynotes (such as yourself), you will find such a diverse set of organizations and individuals. Sponsorship is simply one of the ways you can participate in ECAASU. We encourage everybody to come to the table with their opinions, and challenging each other and engaging in professional discourse with each other. I and confident that with our diversity body of participants, that is exactly what we will achieve.
I hope this will help you better understand where we are coming from and why we chose to partner with these organizations. Let me know if you have any questions!