Dear TDPS Community,
We are alarmed and anguished by the escalating occurrences of racism, hatred, and violence towards Asian American and Pacific Islander (AAPI) people on campus at UC Berkeley, in our local community, and throughout the country. Our condolences go out to the family and friends of all of the victims of Tuesday's mass shooting, and we extend our sympathy to all individuals in our community who have experienced anti-Asian harm or who are feeling targeted and fearful in this moment. In the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, anti-Asian prejudice has led to a significant increase in hate crimes and racist rhetoric against Asian Americans throughout the country. In the SF Bay Area alone, there have been more than 700 reports of anti-Asian hate incidents since the start of the pandemic.
Six of the eight victims of Tuesday's devastating incident in Georgia were women of Asian descent. AAPI community leaders are emphasizing the intersecting racism, sexism, and classism embedded in this act of violence, noting the economic vulnerability of the women who were targeted in their workplaces, and the racialized misogyny that explains why AAPI women have reported being victims of violence at more than twice the rate of AAPI men. The roots of this racism are not new. These current incidents are part of more than a century of anti-Asian bigotry in the United States. We call on every member of our community to actively resist all forms of bias and racism. We stand in solidarity with our social justice leaders and community members in a coalitional effort towards fighting white supremacy.
Within TDPS, we want to make meaningful contributions to these efforts. In the near term, Prof. SanSan Kwan and Prof. Philip Kan Gotanda have offered to host a listening space for AAPI-identified students who would like to come together to talk, listen, and be in community with one another. Additionally, we are very fortunate to have extensive in-house expertise on Asian American histories among our faculty and graduate students. Therefore, we are planning a teach-in that will bring together that expertise with the goal of educating ourselves about the long legacies of prejudice and exclusion that have paved the way for this current wave of violence. We know that these actions must be part of a broader, sustained effort to undo racism within our structures and our community. We remain committed to that work.
Below we share resources that can help us as a community to be better informed and better able to work in solidarity with our AAPI friends and colleagues. Please explore these resources to learn more about current and historical context, and to find ways to offer tangible support in the fight against anti-Asian violence and interlocking systems of oppression. For those in our community who are hurting right now, we encourage you to tend to your wellbeing and access support resources. We hope that the quieter rhythms of Spring Break offer you space to begin to heal.
Joe Goode, Department Chair
TDPS Equity & Inclusion Committee
Resources for Education and Action:
- Asian Americans Advancing Justice - Atlanta is calling for signatories to a statement denouncing systemic violence against AAPI communities and calling for community-centered response. They have also set up a fund to accept donations to support their ongoing work.
- Stop AAPI Hate tracks and responds to incidents of hate against Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders in the US.
- AAPI Women Lead aims to challenge and help end the intersections of violence against and within AAPI communities.
- National Asian Pacific American Women's Forum advocates for political and structural change around reproductive health, immigrant rights, racial justice, and economic justice.
- Compassion in Oakland is coordinating escorts for Asian American elders in Oakland.
- Hollaback! offers anti-harassment/bystander intervention trainings.
- Playbill's "Stop AAPI Hate" Resource Guide includes a list of AAPI theater organizations to support, among other resources for education and action.
- Boston College produced a Racial Trauma Toolkit that offers helpful strategies for navigating the sustained experience of facing racism.
- UC Berkeley Ethnic Studies Professor Lok Siu speaks about histories of anti-Asian violence in the US.
- UC Berkeley Ethnic Studies Professor Cathy Choy is quoted in this intersectional analysis of the Atlanta shooting.