May is Asian/Pacific American Heritage Month- a celebration of Asians and Pacific Islanders in the United States. This annual celebration came about in 1978 when President Jimmy Carter signed into law a Joint Resolution of the Congress of the United States designating the month of May for the celebration of Asian and Pacific Islanders culture and heritage.
The 5 D's of Bystander Intervention

What’s worse than being targeted with harassment because of your race, sex, religion, color, gender, size, orientation, disability, age, or origin? Being targeted while surrounded by bystanders who see what is happening, but then do nothing.
It doesn’t have to be that way.

At this moment in history, we are witnessing a spike in disrespect, harassment, and hate violence. As bystanders, we need to be especially vigilant and aware of what disrespect, harassment, and hate violence look like in order to be able to stand up and intervene at a time when people need it most.

You can make a choice to actively and visibly take a stand against harassment. The Five D’s are different methods you can use to support someone who’s being harassed, emphasize that harassment is not okay, and demonstrate to people in your life that they too have the power to make our communities and workplaces safer. 
Distraction is a subtle and creative way to intervene. The aim here is simply to derail the incident by interrupting it. The idea is to ignore the harasser and engage directly with the person who is being targeted. Don’t talk about or refer to the harassment. Instead, talk about something completely unrelated. You can try the following:
  • Pretend to be lost. Ask for the time. Pretend you know the person being harassed. Talk to them about something random and take attention off of the harasser.
  • Get in the way. Continue what you were doing, but get between the harasser and the target.
  • Accidentally-on-purpose spill your coffee, the change in your wallet, or make a commotion.
Of course, read the situation and choose your Distract method accordingly. The person who is being targeted will likely catch on, and hopefully your act or statement will de-escalate the situation.
Delegation is when you ask for assistance, for a resource, or for help from a third party. Here are examples of what you can do:
  • Find the store supervisor, bus driver, or a transit employee and ask them to intervene.
  • If you’re near a school, contact a teacher or someone at the front desk. On a college campus, contact campus security or someone at the front desk of a university building.
  • Get your friend on board and have them use one of the methods of Distraction (eg. asking for the time, directions, or striking up a conversation unrelated to the harassment) to communicate with the person being harassed while you find someone to delegate to.
  • Speak to someone near you who notices what’s happening and might be in a better position to intervene. Work together.
  • Call 311 or 911 (if it is safe) to request help. Before contacting 911, use Distract to check in with the person being targeted to make sure they want you to do this. Some people may not be comfortable or safe with the intervention of law enforcement. For many people and communities, a history of being mistreated by law enforcement has led to fear and mistrust of police interventions, and under the current climate, there are many communities, such as undocumented individuals, who may feel less safe in the hands of police. In certain situations, you may not be able to get to the person in which case, depending on the situation, you will need to use your best judgement.
It can be really helpful to record an incident as it happens to someone, but there are a number of things to keep in mind to safely and responsibly document harassment. Check out this tip sheet from WITNESS for more details.

First, assess the situation. Is anyone helping the person being harassed? If not, use one of the other four D’s. If someone else is already helping out, assess your own safety. If you are safe, go ahead and start recording.  ALWAYS ask the person who was harassed what they want to do with the recording. NEVER post it online or use it without their permission. There are several reasons for this. Being harassed or violated is already a disempowering experience. Using an image or footage of a person being victimized without that person’s consent can make the person feel even more powerless. If the documentation goes viral, it can lead to further victimization and a level of visibility that the person may not want. Also, posting footage without a victim’s consent makes their experience public – something that can lead to a whole host of legal issues, especially if the act of harassment or violence was in some way criminal. They may be forced to engage with the legal system in a way that they are not comfortable with. Lastly, the experience could have been traumatic. Publicizing another person’s traumatic experience without their consent is no way to be an effective and helpful bystander.
Even if you can’t act in the moment, you can make a difference for the person who has been harassed by checking in on them after the fact. Many types of harassment happen in passing or very quickly, in which case you can wait until the situation is over and speak to the person who was targeted then. Here are some ways to actively use the tactic of Delay:
  • Ask them if they’re okay and tell them you’re sorry that happened to them.
  • Ask them if there’s any way you can support them.
  • Offer to accompany them to their destination or sit with them for awhile.
  • Share resources with them and offer to help them make a report if they want to.
  • If you’ve documented the incident, ask them if they want you to send it to them.
You may want to directly respond to harassment by naming what is happening or confronting the harasser. This tactic can be risky: the harasser may redirect their abuse towards you and may escalate the situation. Before you decide to respond directly, assess the situation: Are you physically safe? Is the person being harassed physically safe? Does it seem unlikely that the situation will escalate? Can you tell if the person being harassed wants someone to speak up? If you can answer yes to all of these questions, you might choose a direct response.
If you choose to directly intervene, some things you can say to the harasser are:
  • “That’s inappropriate, disrespectful, not okay, etc.”
  • “Leave them alone.”
  • “That’s homophobic, racist, (insert type of harassment), etc.”
The most important thing here is to keep it short and succinct. Try not engage in dialogue, debate, or an argument, since this is how situations can escalate. If the harasser responds, try your best to assist the person who was targeted instead of engaging with the harasser.
Direct intervention can be risky, so use this one with caution.
* A note about safety: We don’t ever want you to get hurt trying to help someone out. Always think about safety and consider possibilities that are unlikely to put you or anyone else in harm’s way.

Remember, everyone can do something. At this time in our history, it is even more important that we show up for one another as active bystanders. Research shows that even a knowing glance can significantly reduce trauma for the person who is targeted. One of the most important things we can do is to let the person who is targeted know, in some way, however big or small, that they are not alone.
HERstory: June 12, 2021
Join us in celebrating resuming our annual HERStory series featuring the stories of outstanding Orange County women, This June we feature two women leaders Vicki Calhoun and Sharon Quirk-Silva who have been change makers throughout their careers.

JUNE 12, 2021
11:30 AM- 12:30 PM
Format: Virtual Panel

Lyndsey Lefebvre

Vicki Calhoun, Trustee Area 3, Fullerton Union High School District
Sharon Quirk-Silva, Assemblymember for 65th District, California Assembly

Zoom Ticket: $35

Become a HERStoryy sponsor and support the YWCA of Orange County empowering programs like Girl Code/STEM Urban Garden, Youth Employment Services, Women’s Health Resources and our College Scholarships for Returning Adults. Contact rgomezamaro@ymail for Sponsorship benefits and levels.

A lot of good news to share! Congratulations to YES’s Jenna Oelke, Program Assistant & Lead Intern/Mentor and Daisy Herrera, YES Career Advisor. Both are graduating form Cal State Fullerton this month with Bachelor's degrees in Human Services. And a thousand "High Fives"s to our Spring semester Interns who have volunteered a total of approximately 1,200 hours of service assisting teens/young adults seeking jobs and persons displaced by the pandemic-related employment cutbacks.

A big THANK YOU to you all - Tracy Chase, Paula Estomillo, Alfonso Gudino, Melissa Haro, Daisy Herrera, Diana Jaramillo, Cynthia Le, Emily Leach, Leyna Nguyen, and Bryan Olmedo for taking YES services to another level on Instagram with our Job Alerts at yes_ywcaoc !!
May 11, 2021: Executive Committee
May 2021: Asian & Pacific Islander American Heritage Month 
May 25, 2021: Board Meeting
May 31, 2021: Memorial Day
June 8, 2021: Executive Committee
June 12, 2021: HerStory
June 14, 2021: Flag Day
June 22, 2021: Board Meeting
June 26, 2021: Scholarship Luncheon & Annual Meeting 


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