The Next Normal: An Interview with Wayne Ho

The Next Normal: Wayne

In this episode, we speak with Wayne Ho, President and CEO of the Chinese-American Planning Council. They aim to promote the social and economic empowerment of Chinese American, immigrant, and low-income communities.

When we look to the next normal, we have to look back to the previous normal and ask ourselves if that is what we want to go back to. Wayne agrees that we must change in order to create true equity in society. Tough conversations need to be had and leaders have to be willing to make them. The pandemic has shown us that in many ways we are all tied together, so why aren’t we treated like it?

Listen in as Wayne explores the necessity of prioritizing racial equity now and in the next normal, how the administration’s response to the pandemic created an unsafe environment for Asian-Americans, and dismantling power structures.


What You’ll Learn in This Episode:

·       [2:28] Is the next normal better than returning to the pre-pandemic normal?

·       [4:47] What can better look like? What should it look like?

·       [7:01] Rebuilding to prioritize racially equity: Is the current state purely performative?

·       [10:16] Why leaders need to be willing to have real conversations.

·       [12:01] Creating safe and brave spaces to facilitate tough conversations.

·       [13:40] Accountability in the next normal.

·       [14:24] How the pandemic, and the response to it, negatively impacted the Asian-American community.

·       [18:09] Creating processes for defining what accountability looks like.

·       [23:49] Deconstructing power structures.


Key quotes:

·       “I think the pandemic showed that there’s a lot of inequities and issues in our communities and we don’t want to go back to normal. We want to go to something better.”

·       “In the simplest core, human services nonprofits are trying to lift up all communities who are in some way marginalized, oppressed or not part of the socio-economic system, or not succeeding educationally or in other institutions. What can we do in human services … to make sure that people are moving towards thriving?”

·       “Why are we politicizing that a life matters?”

·       “What type of change can we do during this really hard time, where we’re trying to promote racial justice during this pandemic which is day to day life or death for many individuals?”

·       “It all starts with education; it starts with learning and it starts with having safe spaces and brave spaces to have these tough conversations.”

·       “Accountability doesn’t mean we stop doing the good things or the positive things. Accountability means stopping the bad things that are going on.”

·       “It’s complicated. There are good people in all sectors. There are bad people in all sectors … it comes down to us individually. Are you willing to learn? Are you willing to change?”

·       “Your protest can be at the table. It doesn’t have to be away from the table.”

·       “If the pandemic has taught us anything, it’s that everyone is tied together.”