On March 9, we welcomed former colleagues for alumni drinks at our Amstelveen office. It was a cause for celebration! Rosalinde van de Wall explains in her blog why.
At OPRG, some of our colleagues also like to put their communications expertise to use for the greater good, outside their daily work. One of them is Yuan Druijff, who is highly involved in creating and activating Asian Raisins campaigns in the Netherlands, in her free time.
What is Asian Raisins and why did you get involved?
The Asian Raisins foundation is one of the leading organizations fighting racism against East and Southeast Asian people in the Netherlands. We operate around three programs that reflect our core activities: Storytelling, Action and Community. By focusing on these core activities, we showcase the diversity within the East and Southeast Asian communities in the Netherlands; prevent, detect and act on racist occurrences; and create an environment, in which people from these communities can come together. We strive for an equal, representative, inclusive and eventually racism-free country.
When I was studying during the COVID-19 pandemic, I was looking for a way to connect with people since I wasn’t able to attend physical classes. Simultaneously, anti-Asian violence and hate crimes were significantly increasing. Both overseas and here in the Netherlands, which was difficult to see. My friend was volunteering for Asian Raisins at the time and introduced me. The cause really resonated with me due to my background, which is why I decided to join.
What are you doing in your role for Asian Raisins and how does your professional communication expertise help you in doing so?
I started out as a volunteer at the PR department and after 6 months became the head of the PR department at Asian Raisins, therefore responsible for handling media requests, developing campaigns, developing external communication materials (e.g. press materials, website texts, flyers), and relationship management with external relations. The knowledge I’ve gained through my work at OPRG about PR and integrated communications strategies has helped me contribute to a stronger communications department within Asian Raisins. This positively contributed to the increase in the foundation’s visibility.
What did you learn thanks to your role and involvement with Asian Raisins?
There are many things that I learned from being involved with Asian Raisins, but I will mention the most important ones. Personally, I learned a lot about my identity as an East Asian woman in the Netherlands and the extensive ways people experience racism. The latter ranges from institutional racism like not being included in policy making to casual racism such as hearing normalized racist jokes and remarks (i.e. ‘jokes’ about your appearance, the racist birthday song Hanky Panky Shanghai). Professionally, I learned about the importance of and how to build strong partnerships, and what to consider when creating an anti-racism campaign, such as the sometimes opposing target audiences you need to reach, how to mobilize volunteers, and choosing carefully what to spend your time on.
Yuan’s tip for others:
Taking action is empowering and creates change. Educate yourself and others on anti-East and Southeast Asian racism to create environments free of stereotypes, and be able to prevent/act on racist occurrences. Thereby getting closer to a representative, inclusive and racism-free country.