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We must not let racism and anti-Asian hate threaten our community (Updated 3/17/21)

Updated – 3/17/21

The murders of eight people in Atlanta yesterday — including at least six women of Asian descent — are all the more horrific in the context of the rise of anti-Asian violence, harassment and bigotry that we have seen around the country, including here in Seattle. Our hearts are with those who have lost loved ones, as well as the survivors of these attacks. And they are with all those who have been touched by this heinous crime and by the other acts of violence and hate directed at Asian, Asian American and Pacific Islander communities.

As we know, this form of bigotry is not new and it has a long and shameful history in our nation. We must recognize this anti-Asian hate for what it is and stand together to condemn it. We must commit ourselves as a society to eradicating the despicable racism that inspires such terrible violence.

If you witness or are aware of racist incidents, please speak up and report them. Please also make sure you take the time you need for self-care, including by using the resources in the sidebar. And I ask our whole community to care for and support our Asian, Asian American and Pacific Islander colleagues, friends and neighbors.


Original post – 3/12/21

Throughout the long months of the COVID-19 pandemic, one lesson has emerged over and over again: our strength and resilience depend on us coming together to care for each other, protect each other and work together to end the threats that we all face as a community. The virus, of course, is a serious and mortal threat, but we must not overlook the threats from xenophobia, racism and inequity, which only exacerbate the challenges presented by the virus. We have a shared responsibility to stand — and speak — against intolerance in all its forms.

From the earliest days of the pandemic, people who are Asian and Pacific Islander (API) or Asian American and Pacific Islander (AAPI) have been subjected to stereotyping, stigmatization, racism and xenophobia that have at times manifested as abhorrent rhetoric, harassment and physical assaults.

While racism and discrimination against Asian, Pacific Islander and Asian American community members sadly predate the pandemic, we are seeing more reports of attacks and harassment against people perceived as being Asian or of API descent. Here in Seattle, just a few weeks ago, a Japanese language teacher, who also happens to be a participant in the UW’s East Asia Resource Center teacher training program, was brutally assaulted in the International District. We wish her a speedy recovery, and our thoughts are with her and her loved ones. While we don’t know the precise motives of her attacker, incidents like this across the country contribute to an environment in which our Asian, Pacific Islander and Asian American community members don’t feel safe and secure.

The threat of COVID-19 is only intensified by fear and prejudice. We need all our energy and efforts to go toward the collective actions that will actually keep us safe — like masking, distancing and expanding vaccine access to the communities who need it most urgently. If mistrust, disinformation and bigotry are allowed to fester, not only will individuals be victimized, but we will all suffer the consequences as the pandemic is further prolonged. Attacks and harassment motivated by racism and xenophobia strike at the heart of our collective work to build a safer, healthier world. If you know of an incident of bias or violation of UW policies on non-discrimination, please report it using the Bias Reporting Tool.

We are all longing for a return to something like normal, and we all feel the strain of this past year. Please do what you can to keep lifting each other up, and to stand united against anything that would undermine our continued progress. And also remember to care for yourself. Among the many hurdles we’ve faced are the ongoing stress, anxiety and uncertainty wearing away at all of us. Bear in mind that asking for help is a sign of strength. Take advantage of the resources available to you whether you are a student in Seattle, Bothell or Tacoma or an employee at any UW campus or facility.

This moment in the ongoing COVID crisis presents new challenges — the end feels close, but the risks have not abated. In the final miles of this race, we’re exhausted, mentally and emotionally, but we can persevere in the same way that we’ve come this far: by caring and showing compassion for ourselves, our community and our whole human family.