March 17th, 2021
Dear UMass Community,
We are writing in the wake of a year characterized by rapidly increasing rates of hate crimes, racist attacks, threats, and vitriol targeted at the Asian American and Pacific Islander (AAPI) community. The horrific acts of violence towards the Asian community across the country and yesterday’s mass murder against Asian-Americans workers in an Asian-owned business in Atlanta, Georgia underscore the severity of this moment and must prompt a united response against any and all forms of racism, discrimination, xenophobia, and violence.
These acts are a result of the systemic white supremacy and colonialism which the US is built upon. Historically, we’ve seen this manifest as deadly policies, laws, and practices, such as the Chinese Exclusion Act, Japanese Internment Camps, Page Law (which excluded Asian women from entering the country).
The UMass Student Government Association stands in unity with the Asian American and Pacific Islander (AAPI) community and condemn all forms of racism, discrimination, xenophobia, and violence against the AAPI community.
UMass is in no way exempt from these dangerous incidents. We’ve seen acts of violence, hate speech, and targeted attacks against AAPI students and community members. The fact that AAPI students do not feel safe on campus and in classes is extremely disturbing and we are all obligated to do our part in creating a safe, anti-racist UMass for everyone.
To echo the call from the UMass Asian & Asian American Studies Certificate Program, we urge students and community members to:
- Learn about the issues faced by the AAPI community and all of the various groups that fall under that umbrella term, including the differences between their histories & experiences.
- Advocate for greater institutional supports for AAPI organizations and students.
- Learn about the ways white colonialism, imperialism, and neoliberalism have exploited Asian countries and Pacific Islands.
- Learn the origins of the Model Minority Myth & Orientalism and the ways it has been used to silence Asians.
- Actively unlearn stereotypes that you hold about the Asian community.
- Actively create an anti-racist campus.
We urge students to donate to and take classes in the UMass Asian & Asian American Studies Certificate Program in order to educate ourselves and help support this crucial program at our University.
We are compiling resources which will be posted and available on our website. Some of these include, but are not limited to:
Center for Counseling and Psychological Health
Asian & Asian American Studies Certificate and classes
Yuri Kochiyama Cultural Center
Asian American Commission’s Community Action Guide
Dean of Students Office
UMass Anti-Racism Resources
The UMass Amherst Student Government Association