Following the tragic news from Atlanta this week, I want to extend my support to all members of our community. The facts are that of the eight people killed, six were of Asian descent and seven were women. This act of hate against Asian Americans and Pacific Islander (AAPI) communities and women is the latest instance in a surge of prejudice and violence towards marginalized communities.
Xenophobia and racism targeting AAPI communities has risen dramatically during the pandemic. Hate has no home at the University of Michigan, and we are united with AAPI communities, including students, faculty, and staff at Michigan Engineering. We are steadfast in our commitment to confronting racism. We must listen and make sure that our eyes are open to racial prejudice. At the College of Engineering, our community is rich with the perspectives and experiences of students and colleagues from across the world – including those from Asian backgrounds.
Our community must be active in the fight against racial violence and hate. Last summer I wrote, “Our society, just like our College, will never be its best unless we create a safe and fair place for all.” I feel that not enough has been done to protect each other and that the progress we need to make as a country isn’t happening fast enough. Racist, misogynist rhetoric has been normalized by some of those in power, and hate crimes against AAPI communities continue. It is our duty, as a College and community, to protect our students, faculty, staff, friends and neighbors, and we must be more vigilant in our fight against racism, xenophobia, and sexism.
It is at times like these that we are reminded of the importance of the DEI culture shift underway at the College, especially the educational opportunities on race and ethnicity that are under development. Thank you to the many of you, students – staff, and faculty – who are hard at work developing them. These resources will help to ensure everyone at the College is equipped to participate in anti-racism.
Please remember that anyone is encouraged to report incidents through the Campus Climate Support website or to our Division of Public Safety and Security. DPSS has a special unit to assist survivors of interpersonal violence.
All of us must do more and expect better from each other to curb hate, violence, and crime. Take care of each other. Learn. Be brave. Stand up. And stay well!
The University has upcoming campus events that examine and challenge racism and misogyny, including:
- Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month events that began this week.
- Our Institute for Research on Women & Gender (IRWG) is holding a panel titled “Gendered Consequences of Systems Involvement” on Friday, March 19, during which leading U-M faculty members will discuss gender-based violence and the systems survivors often deal with.
- On March 26, our Women’s and Gender Studies Department presents “Contextualizing Violence Against Asians and Asian Americans Within the History of U.S. Relational Racism.”
As a reminder to those who have been impacted by this or other events, several campus resources are available to the U-M community:
Faculty and Staff
DEI Culture Shift
As we move beyond our DEI strategic plan, we’re building a framework to ensure every member of the engineering community is educated about issues of diversity, equity and inclusion, beginning with a focus on race, ethnicity and unconscious bias.