Dear members of the Metropolitan State University community,
The shootings at three spas in Atlanta on Tuesday took place against a backdrop of racism, discrimination, and violence against Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders that has increased sharply in the past year. Since March 2020, over 3,700 cases of hate crimes against the AAPI community have been reported. Undoubtedly, the actual number of incidents is much higher, but this occurrence reflects the intersection of hate, racism and misogyny.
I write to strongly affirm our university’s unwavering commitment to equity, inclusion, and anti-racism. We stand with the AAPI community and condemn acts of violence, hate, racism, and misogyny. We are federally recognized as an Asian American Native American Pacific Islander Serving Institution (AANAPISI) and thus have significant responsibility to stand with our Asian American and Pacific Islander community at a time when these attacks are escalating. Sadly, hate-fueled violence is a longstanding, integral part of history for Asian-Americans. As Dr. Russell Jeung, the San Francisco State University professor and founder of Stop AAPI Hate notes, “Asians are racialized as perpetual foreigners.”
I am grateful to Professor Nantawan Lewis for sharing a link to Dr. Jeung’s website, Stop Anti-Asian Hate, which contains an educational video Combating AAPI Racism in Age of Covid-19 l CFA and an accompanying video guide. These educational tools educate us on how to combat hateful rhetoric, mobbing, bullying and racially motivated violence in our communities.
As educators and students at a university which strives to be an anti-racist learning community, we invite you to visit Dr. Jeung’s website (calfac.org) to learn more. Consider having a conversation with your students, classmates or colleagues on combating AAPI Hate. Our Asian American students and colleagues, who have been traumatized by this ‘hate,’ will be grateful for your solidarity. The Asian American community in the Twin Cities, in the state of Minnesota and across the country need all of us to stand with them. Everyone is encouraged to work together in responding to this situation. As we work with units across the university to determine how we can best support each other in learning and action to stop hate based violence against the AAPI communities we will share more about how you can be involved or access these resources. In the meantime, I call attention to the following opportunities.
The Coalition of Asian American Leaders (CAAL) is presenting a public event entitled: A Community Conversation on Anti-Asian Racism and Violence on Wednesday, March 24, 2021 from 5 – 6:30 p.m. Speakers at the event include U.S. Rep. Ilhan Omar, Minnesota Department of Human Rights Commissioner Rebecca Lucero, CAAL Network and Executive Director Bo Thao-Urabe, and others. You will hear from those who have been victimized by anti-Asian hate and how to work together to take action. Please join them.
Another event, which may be of interest is Uncovering the Complex Layers of Racialized Trauma and Its Impact on Mental Health, Monday, April 5, from 3 – 4:15 p.m. Register using this link.
This presentation will focus on the various types and layers of trauma experienced by Black, Indigenous and People of Color (specifically BIPOC college students). Information will be provided on how trauma is stored in the body and its impact on our autonomic nervous system. Strategies to heal from trauma and ways to support BIPOC students will also be presented.
Dr. Niloufer Merchant, Professor Emeritus at St. Cloud State University, is a Licensed Psychologist, currently in private practice in Maple Grove, Minnesota. Her areas of specialization include working with a variety of populations dealing with trauma related to war, domestic violence, sexual abuse, childhood trauma, medical issues, accidents, and racial/cultural/immigrant/refugee experiences. She has presented and published widely on the topic of multicultural issues and has held many leadership roles in the St. Cloud community, St. Cloud State University, and state and national professional organizations.
More campus events, listening sessions and activities are in development and details will be shared as available.
Racism, bias, hate, and exclusion exist in many forms and affect us all. I highly recommend Dr. Heather McGhee’s book, The Sum of Us: What Racism Costs Everyone and How We Can Prosper Together. During these difficult and stressful times, her book shows us that solidarity improves everyone’s life and future.
We must stand together, speak out, act and be #MetroStrong.
President Virginia "Ginny" Arthur, JD
Metropolitan State University