Solidarity with Asian and Asian American Communities
Dear members of the Northwestern community,
Over the past year, the COVID-19 pandemic has magnified another sickness that continues to grip our nation — increased violence and harassment targeting members of our Asian and Asian American communities. Across the country, recent racist, brutal attacks have focused on members of the Asian public resulting in injury and, in some cases, death. Northwestern University mourns this loss of life, and both condemns and rejects these hateful acts.
As a community, we can demonstrate our leadership by taking action against such discrimination and harassment. We start with the understanding that all oppressions are connected, and the rise of anti-Asian racism is not new. Though the pandemic has shone a spotlight on Sinophobia, we must acknowledge that anti-Asian racism and xenophobia have long been a problem in this country, and our campus community is not immune. We turn with gratitude to our faculty, staff and student community members who research, teach and train, and through this work reveal the diversity and rich histories of our Asian and Asian American communities.
The recent rise of ignorance and hate among online groups that has circulated through social media starkly reminds us that we all have a part in rejecting hate, bullying and racism. Such behaviors harm everyone — those targeted, the bystanders and our campus community. However, there are things we can do to intervene:
- Report concerning behavior through Respect NU Portal’s Bias Incident Form. The Office of Equity also works to respond to all student, staff and faculty reports of discrimination and harassment that occur within the context of a University program or activity or that otherwise affect the University's working or learning environment, regardless of whether the reported conduct occurred on or off campus.
- Engage in bystander intervention. Hateful discourse and behaviors can be shut down if just one person speaks up. Your intervention as an ally may encourage someone else to stand up and intercede the next time they witness racist comments and actions that perpetuate discrimination and hate. Address directly the harm in jokes, name-calling and slurs. When possible, use the moment to teach others how their words and behaviors hurt others. You can learn more about bystander intervention and sign up for available trainings.
- Call for help. If you see someone in a crisis situation — verbal threats or physical harm — call for help immediately. Don’t talk yourself out of calling for help; reach out to emergency assistance or others nearby.
- Learn about Asian and Asian American cultures, histories and arts. We ask all members of our communities to learn more about Asian and Asian American communities as this knowledge enriches our lives and provides clear refutation of racist ideology. Familiarize yourself with Northwestern’s Asian American Studies Program, the Council for Race and Ethnic Studies and the Department of Asian Languages and Cultures.
- Connect with the community. The Asian, Pacific Islander, Desi-American (APIDA) Staff Affinity Group (ASAG)provides an APIDA-centered community for Northwestern staff, and there are many APIDA-centered student organizations and events available for students, including Solidari-Tea and APIDA 101 events.
- Connect with resources. Northwestern’s Counseling and Psychological Services (CAPS) has put together resources to help community members combat, report and address/cope with xenophobia and anti-Asian racism.
We stand in solidarity with the Asian and Asian American communities. In naming and recognizing both their racialized histories of oppression and current injustices, may we never forget the powerful role we each play in creating a more just and equitable community.