March 17, 2021
This Morning and Grief: Our Students, You, Our Community
As you wake up this morning and check out the news (or are opening this email), you will be learning about the shootings in Georgia that killed 8, and at least 6 were Asian women, at their places of work (three separate places), by a white man. With the recent Academic Senate approval of the resolution to address the social-emotional needs of our students last week at Senate, anti-Asian racism and violence against Asians and Asian-Americans have been on my mind lately. I did want to check in on our community this morning and acknowledge that there will be many grieving and scared and angry, but especially some of our students.
There are going to be people, your students and colleagues, that are not okay today. All of the details aren't known yet, but we do know can be jarring: these attacks were on seemingly working-class Asian women, where they work, and it is being speculated that they were sex workers. There is so much intersectionality in that last sentence and specificity in these murders, we can not ignore it and we should not when supporting our students today and after. These women were vulnerable because of their identity, possibly their immigration status, most likely professions, their class. We must first work through our grief, and our students' grief, but once we have, we need to then continue our work on taking apart the systems of oppression that make people vulnerable to overt acts of terrorism, like this one, but also every day "micro"aggressions people of color face and biases against them.
Should you need or want talking points moving forward, here is "A Literary Guide to Combat Anti-Asian Racism in America" and the number of NPR stories on the rise of Anti-Asian Attacks During the Pandemic." There are also a number of organizations that main purpose is to decrease violence against Asian communities. Should you want links to some, please do let me know. Also, if you aren't already familiar with any of these, you may want to read up on the Japanese Internment Camps (or visit Manzanar here in California once you are traveling again after the pandemic is over and it is safe to do so), the Chinese Exclusion Act, the US occupation of the Philippines (and other Asian-Pacific Islands), and believe the stories of Asian women that are willing to share their stories of the racism and sexualization they have experienced their whole lives. Today and after, please remember that violence against Asians isn't anything new, nor sex workers, nor domestic terrorism by young, white men, nor people vulnerable because of their immigration status, but may just be more obvious after yesterday's incident.
There is so much more that needs to be said, but for now, I'll end here. Take care of yourself today, take care of those grieving and scared, and most importantly, use your emotions to fuel your work. And if you'd like to get involved in the workgroup that is forming to address the lives lost to COVID and address the Anti-Racism Asians are facing, please do email me.