Dear Campus Community,
No doubt that during the past pandemic year, you have heard how members of the Asian American and Pacific Islander (AAPI) community have been unjustly attacked and blamed in our country for causing COVID-19. Although there are many people who feel this week’s terrible incident in Atlanta is a cumulation of these attacks, these lived experiences were long felt more than 12 months ago. The pandemic and the ongoing fight for racial equity did not cause the explosion in AAPI hate incidents. Rather, it pulled back the veil on systemic issues that have been experienced by AAPI people for centuries, and have been dismissed. There are chronic issues of racism that have made and continue to make the AAPI community feel vulnerable.
Salem State stands in solidarity with our AAPI community members, and we must continue our work to stop systematized racism and injustice against all people of color. There is no tolerance on our campus outright verbal or physical hatred, or microaggressions. The Atlanta slayings, and the issues raised by these events beyond the killing of innocent lives, have affected many on our campus and we must be dedicated to supporting and listening for understanding within our own communities.
We have a unique opportunity in the coming weeks to deepen our knowledge and focus on these issues. Salem State faculty, administrators and students have a series of events planned to not only celebrate the AAPI community but more importantly, they are a call to Stop AAPI Hate.
Although AAPI Heritage Month takes place every May in the US, we celebrate it in April to accommodate the academic calendar and to provide a full month to recognize our Asian, Native Hawaiian and Other Pacific Islander communities. The AAPI Heritage Month Collaborative, includes members from the Asian Student Association (ASA), Asian Employee Resource Group (ERG), Frederick E. Berry Library, human resources and equal opportunity, inclusive excellence, institutional advancement, and the leadership, engagement, advocacy, and diversity (LEAD) office. The collaborative has also developed a statement of solidarity.
The collaborative has several anti-hate and bystander programs, along with activities to promote healing scheduled during AAPI month. On Monday, April 5, nationally recognized racial justice advocate, lawyer, strategist and writer, Deepa Iyer will also lead an interactive workshop. More information about the Stop AAPI Hate remote programs is available at: https://www.salemstate.edu/news/2021-asian-american-pacific-islander-heritage-month-stop-aapi-hate-solidarity-community-and-celebration-mar-18-2021. All community members are welcome to participate.
John D. Keenan