Dear Bruin Community:
You may have seen the video of a 91-year-old man in Oakland’s Chinatown being pushed facedown into a sidewalk, or heard of the 84-year-old Thai native who recently died after being assaulted on his morning walk in San Francisco. Perhaps you or someone you know has been verbally attacked with an anti-Asian slur that cuts deeply.
Such incidents are not new, but they are on an alarming rise. That is why it’s critical that we recognize these hateful incidents and condemn them.
The past year has been marked by a disturbing number of occurrences of anti-Asian and anti-Pacific Islander bias and violence in the United States. The organization Stop Asian American Pacific Islander Hate recorded more than 2,800 hate incidents throughout the nation in 2020 — and those are just the ones that were reported. These incidents not only cause anxiety for many in our community, they are also painful reminders of the long, sad history of anti-Asian discrimination in California and the US that includes the Chinese Exclusion Act and the incarceration of Japanese Americans in camps during World War II.
During hard times, we must come together to address the problems in front of us with respect and compassion, not fear and hostility. Giving into stereotyping or racial biases undermines the foundation of a society that values equity and inclusion, prioritizes everyone’s dignity and allows us to thrive together.
I know this is a difficult moment for many of our Asian and Pacific Islander Bruins, and we support those in our community who have been affected. If you believe you have experienced an incident of discrimination or harassment, please report it to the Office of Equity, Diversity and Inclusion. Our counseling services are also available for students as well as for staff and faculty who need support.
The late Chinese American civil rights activist Grace Lee Boggs — who spoke on campus several times and published some of her work through our Asian American Studies Center Press — once said that “the only way to survive is by taking care of one another.” Now, more than ever, we must remember this wisdom.
Gene D. Block