UMass Panel to Address Rising Anti-Asian Racism and COVID-19 on Sept. 23

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Members of the University of Massachusetts and surrounding Amherst area community will broadcast a discussion and Q&A titled “Perspectives on Covid-19 and Anti-Asian Bias and Xenophobia.” The event will take place via zoom on Wednesday, Sept. 23 from noon to 2 p.m. Registration is required.

Since the 2020 outbreak of COVID-19, thousands of acts of anti-Asian hate incidents have been reported throughout the United States alone. Acts of physical violence and racism on Asians and people of Asian descent have spread globally as the virus itself spreads. These incidents connect to a long history of anti-Asian racism that has been supported by laws, institutions and representations, along with a long history of resistance by Asian Americans in solidarity with other communities of color. This panel presents various perspectives from a diverse groups of UMass Amherst faculty, professional staff, graduate and undergraduate students, and community members.

The event will begin with a UMass faculty panel composed of C.N. Le, senior lecturer II in sociology and director of the Asian and Asian American studies program; Sigrid Schmalzer, professor of Chinese history and a vice president of the Massachusetts Society of Professors; Richard T Chu, Five College associate professor of history; Cedric de Leon, professor of sociology and director of the Labor Center; Michael Sakamoto, interim director of programming and director of Asian/Asian American arts and culture; and Sangeeta Kamat, professor of comparative and international education. Miliann Kang, associate professor and director of diversity advancement in the College of Humanities and Fine Arts will moderate.

Faculty speakers will be followed by students, staff and Amherst community representatives. Those participants will include Hwei-Ling Greeney, founder and executive director of Amherst Community Connections; Jay Wong, member of the Asian American Commission of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts; Amy Brodigan, assistant director of The Partnership for Worker Education; and rising senior Lily Tang (political science and Asian and Asian American studies) and founder of UMass' Asian American Film Festival.

This event is organized by the UMass Office of Diversity and Inclusion. It is co-sponsored by the Asian and Asian American studies certificate program; the department of history, the Labor Center; the department of women, gender, sexuality studies; and the Asian and Asian American arts and culture program; the Fine Arts Center; the College of Education; the Massachusetts Society of Professors; and the UMass Center for Multicultural Advancement and Student Success.