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Statement on Rise in Anti-Asian Hate Crimes & the Atlanta Shooting

Dear Communication Department Community,


Hatred is a powerful communicator. The lives taken from families, friends, loved ones in Atlanta this week exact an immediate devastating toll that screams out now and speaks into an unfolding future. The overwhelming immediacy of this devastation threatens to transform the lives of 8 people—among them, 6 women of Asian descent and 4 ethnic Koreans—into a spectre of expected yet unpredictable racialized attacks that haunt our Asian American Pacific Islander (AAPI) family.  We must reject every aspect of this attack and condemn the hate it conveys. Our own communication matters in moments like this, and we—as individuals and as campus community members— must grow louder, stronger, and unyielding in our rejection of hatred, and especially in our rejection of attacks on AAPI people and communities. We are saddened by, angered by, and strongly condemn, escalating racially-motivated intimidation, bullying, microaggressions, harassment, and verbal and physical attacks against Asian and Asian American community members. Sadly, the public health emergency spurred by the COVID-19 pandemic has been exploited to foster racism, ethnic scapegoating, and blatant xenophobia that draws fuel from and reignites an ongoing history of anti-Asian racism in the United States, dating back to the Chinese Exclusion Act (1882) and earlier.

We recognize that these acts of hatred have caused significant harm to our Asian and Asian American communities, and are the latest iteration of a long history of systemic racism in this country. We are emboldened in our steadfast embrace of inclusion and belonging for all peoples. Xenophobic and racist actions are contrary to our values and  are not representative of our community beliefs. We stand with, and in support of, all Asian and Asian American members of our campus and local communities. We commit ourselves to having one another’s backs.

The department’s commitment to diversity, equity, and inclusion is reflected in our stated values, but it must also be embodied in our actions. We recognize that vocalization of support must be accompanied by explicit strategies to dismantle systems of oppression, especially the forms of oppression that directly target specific people and communities. Moments like this one require a clear articulation of action: this is an ongoing effort that we must willfully take on and integrate into the various facets of our work together, in the classroom, across campus and beyond the university. The wellbeing of our students is always our primary concern. We encourage you to reach out to us for support when you need it, and to care for each other in the face of these profoundly harmful attacks. We are here for you.

Brian Goldfarb
Associate Professor & Chair
Department of Communication