Department of English Statement Against Anti-Asian Racism
Friday, March 26, 2021
On behalf of the English Department, we denounce racism and strive to contribute to anti-racist efforts through our writing, teaching, mentoring, learning, and community work. We categorically condemn all speech and action that endorses racism, sexism, homophobia, transphobia, xenophobia, Islamophobia, anti-Semitism, ableism, or bigotry of any stripe.
We are grieved and angered by ongoing violence against racialized people—most recently, the shootings in Atlanta on March 16, 2021. Because racism works to erase our humanity, it’s important to reject this erasure through remembrance. Our hearts go out to the families and communities of the eight individuals killed (six Asian American women) and one who survived. We echo our colleagues in the Asian & Asian American Studies Certificate Program who note that this violence is part of the pandemic-related surge in anti-Asian violence (hate crimes against Asian Americans have increased 149% from 2019-2020), as well as linked to the long history of nativism against and racialization of Asian and Asian American people. We stand against this anti-Asian racism and the unrelenting racism that includes but is not limited to police violence against Black people and the inhumane detention of undocumented immigrant families.
We stand alongside Asian and Asian American people in our department and university who are mourning this violence and feeling its ripples. We stand alongside BIPOC students, staff, and faculty who are also mourning and painfully reminded of racial violence in their own communities. And we affirm allies who stand in solidarity with anti-racist efforts.
As writers, scholars, teachers, and learners in English studies, we engage in work that can help us understand and write against such violence. We are deeply troubled by media accounts that privilege the perpetrator’s perspective and that refuse to see this incident in the context of legacies of racism, nativism, and sexism. By contrast, we can practice naming, remembrance, and resistance through our everyday practices: reading narratives by those who’ve been most silenced; analyzing and disrupting oppressive discourses; using critical histories and theories about race, decolonization, transnationalisms, gender, and sexuality; and engaging in brave conversations in our communities.
We seek to address racism through structural change at the same time that we recognize the need for ongoing self-reflection among each of us and as a department. Our recently formed Ad Hoc Committee on Anti-Racism—which includes faculty and student representatives who initiated this statement—is working to invite and listen to the experiences of BIPOC students, staff, and faculty; to reflect on anti-racist approaches to our curricula and teaching practices; and to identify strategies for making our community more racially inclusive. And we stand behind the AAASCP in their calls for our university to support the departments, offices, and student organizations that center racial minority people and their experiences, cultures, and histories.
Juniper's Community Agreements
The Juniper Institute operates in solidarity with the movements which continue to draw critical attention to the reality that Black lives have been devalued in this country by law enforcement, institutional racism, and the culture of white supremacy. Black Lives Matter. We join our staff, instructors, and larger community of writers in expressing frustration, exhaustion, and rage with these systems of oppression. All of us—Juniper staff, instructors, and participants—bring our varied identities to the Institute. We are a diverse group in terms of our personal, cultural, and social identities, as well as our experiences and background with creative writing. Juniper strives to provide the accountable and accessible digital spaces necessary for everyone to be able to participate fully in the week’s events. This means we are committed to supporting the following community guidelines:
- Treat one another with dignity, respect, and fairness
- Share, act, and communicate honestly, truthfully, and with integrity
- Be responsible, transparent, and accountable for our actions
- Expect to learn something new about yourself and others
- Recognize your communication style
- Challenge your thinking, engagement, and comfort
- Explore your emotional reactions, perceptions, and assumptions
- Take care of yourself and support others in caring for themselves
We ask that all members of the Juniper community follow these guidelines, and practice every opportunity to establish a more inclusive space. If you become concerned about a violation of community norms or you feel uncomfortable with a community member’s actions, please reach out to us using the contact information below. We are all invested in making sure that everyone feels respected and welcome in our programs at all times.
Resources and Direct Action
Our mission is to prioritize critical thinking, empathy, and action alongside creative practice. We offer below just a few resources for nationwide action, and encourage you to support and engage with BIPOC-led organizations doing anti-racism work in your local community.
AAPI Civic Engagement Fund
The AAPI Civic Engagement Fund believes that Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders must be an integral part of strengthening America’s democracy, improving the quality of life for all, and creating vibrant multiracial communities.
Black Lives Matter
The "Ways you can help" page provides a collection of petitions, donation links, and protest information
Movement for Black Lives (M4BL)
The Movement for Black Lives is an ecosystem of individuals and organizations creating a shared vision and policy agenda to win rights, recognition, and resources for Black people.
Standing up for Racial Justice (SURJ)
Standing Up for Racial Justice is a national network of community-based organizing groups that move white people to act as part of a multi-racial majority for justice with passion and accountability.
Research and policy solutions to end police violence
White Supremacy Culture
Article by Tema Okun that identifies characteristics of white supremacy and their antidotes
The Loveland Foundation
Organized by writer, activist, and academic Rachel Cargle, The Loveland Foundation provides free mental healthcare services for Black women and girls
Black-owned Independent Bookstores
Each bookstore on this list is open for online (or phone) orders
Online Voter Registration
Information by state with links to register online
Reclaim Our Vote
A Black-led nonpartisan initiative that works against voter suppression in Black communities