Dear Uni Community,
We were shocked and devastated by the mass shooting targeting Asian American women in Atlanta on Tuesday. And yet violence against Asian Americans is, tragically, not surprising, given the rise in anti-Asian hate crimes since the start of the pandemic. As Chancellor Jones and Vice Chancellor Garrick observed in their Statement on the rise of anti-Asian violence across the nation, incidents of anti-Asian hate and bias increased 149 percent in 2020, although overall hate crimes dropped 7 percent. In a report tracking incidents of violence and harassment against Asian American communities, the group Stop AAPI Hate noted that over the past year, Asian American women reported 2.3 times as many hate incidents as Asian American men.
Hyun Jung Grant, Xiaojie Tan, Daoyou Feng, Delaina Yaun, Soon C. Park, Suncha Kim, Yong A. Yue, and Paul Andre Michels were murdered in Tuesday’s attack. Our hearts go out to their communities and to the loved ones who grieve their loss. One surviving victim, Elcias Hernandez-Ortiz, remains in critical condition.
We extend our support and solidarity to Asian American members of our Uni family as we repudiate the racism and misogyny that seem to have motivated this hateful crime. As a school and a community, we need to work to understand the big picture of historical forces that have led us to our current moment––going back to early anti-immigration laws intended to exclude Asians from the US, the 1871 Chinese massacre in Los Angeles, and Japanese American internment camps during World War II––but also to work to create a local culture that supports all members of our community in the present.
In our June 2020 Statement on Racial Justice, we acknowledged the need for all of us at Uni to “confront the reality that systemic racism affects our school, its practices, and its culture” and to “have challenging conversations and work real changes . . . that will at times take many of us outside our comfort zones.” We know that our words and actions matter––we need to be thoughtful and respectful in our choices, and we must be upstanders rather than bystanders when we hear racist remarks or observe microaggressions against Asian Americans and other targeted groups. We also need to continue to seek good information and educate ourselves, considering (for example) how stereotypes of Asian Americans like the Model Minority Myth that seem innocuous can be harmful to Asian Americans and divisive for all Americans.
One upcoming opportunity for Asian American students and their families to learn to better protect themselves against anti-Asian harassment and for the rest of us become better and more active allies in the fight against anti-Asian harassment is a Bystander Intervention Training to Stop Anti-Asian/American and Xenophobic Harassment that the Asian American Cultural Center will be offering on Friday, April 9, 2021, from 2:00-3:00 PM. This free interactive online training is for people of all ages and backgrounds (RSVP link here: http://bit.ly/GLAASSBIT).
Students, if you experience bias or racial harassment at Uni, please report it to an administrator or Dr. O’Brien, our Coordinator of Equity and Engagement. Uni is in the process of creating a bias incident reporting form, but in the meantime, contact Dr. O’Brien or one of us. And if you witness harassment or racist rhetoric, don’t be a passive bystander––speak out, express your support for the targeted person/people, and/or report the incident.
Dr. Majerus and Dr. Radnitzer