Dear friends and colleagues,
Eight people were killed in a mass shooting in Georgia this week, six of whom were Asian. The increase in violence against Asians, Asian Americans, and Pacific Islanders is tragic and unacceptable, and it is something that must be recognized, called out, and denounced.
This increase in violence and hate-filled statements is not just a problem happening nationally. It is found here in Minnesota where, according to the Minnesota Asian Pacific Legislative Caucus, “[Asian Minnesotans] experience hate in many forms every day, leaving us with the fear of, ‘will our community be next?’” Immigrant rights activists have also been working to bring awareness to these discriminatory and dangerous acts.
Anti-Asian sentiment is also not new. As UMN Professor Erika Lee testified today before the U.S. House Committee on the Judiciary, anti-Asian racism has existed throughout the history of the United States (for more information, see Professor Lee’s book, America for Americans: A History of Xenophobia in the United States).
Working to stop this violence is not something these communities should need to do alone. We each have a responsibility to speak against acts of xenophobia and racism and intervene in and report any incidents we witness. There are platforms on the University, state, and national level for doing this reporting along with various resources for bystander intervention training. We must stand with the Asian, Pacific Islander, immigrant, and international student communities, and we must work with them to make our communities safe for everyone.