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In Support of Our Asian American and Pacific Islander (AAPI) Community

Dear members of the Emerson community,

Last night we learned of a series of vicious attacks that took the lives of eight people in Atlanta, Georgia, six of whom were Asian women. These horrifying murders bring the terror that many Asian Americans have experienced to the forefront of our consciousness.  A report released last month by the Asian American Bar Association of New York indicated that from January 1 to November 1, 2020, the New York Police Department saw an eight-fold increase in reported anti-Asian hate crimes compared to the same period a year prior.

We have known that long before yesterday, anti-Asian violence and racism have been a pernicious part of America’s story. The Chinese Exclusion Act of 1882 was the first significant law restricting immigration into the U.S. and one of the only to prevent all members of a particular ethnic or national group from immigrating. In the early 20th century, U.S. officials in the Philippines justified continued colonial rule by claiming that Filipinos were unfit to govern themselves. And, exactly 79 years ago today, on March 17, 1942, President Franklin D. Roosevelt signed Executive Order 9066, which transformed the lives of more than 120,000 Japanese immigrants and their Japanese-American children by condemning them to incarceration camps in seven states.

Despite the fact that these policies and crimes, both historic and current, have not received widespread public attention, they have had a real and devastating impact on the Asian American and Pacific Islander (AAPI) community. Hate and xenophobia allowed to go unchecked can and do result in violence.

To the Asian American and Pacific Islander members of our community, we see you and commit ourselves to your support, protection, and aid. In addition, we call upon our civic and political leaders in Boston, Massachusetts, and around the United States to address and condemn these acts as well as to undo the policies and rhetoric that have fueled them.

Within our Emerson community, it’s up to each of us to speak up, educate ourselves, and remain vigilant.  It’s not easy to dismantle the toxic impacts of false information and deliberate misinformation, but this is what we are called to do.  Now and in the future, we must be prepared to take on this charge.

Please do not hesitate to utilize the resources available on campus, around Boston and across the United States.

On-campus resources include:

ECAPS 617-824-8595; **reach after-hours crisis support by calling this number after 5 p.m. and all weekend
Spiritual Life 617-824-8036
Intercultural Student Affairs 617-824-8642
Office of International Student Affairs 617-824-7858
Social Justice Center 617-824-8528
Housing & Residence Education 617-824-8642
Student Engagement & Leadership  617-824-8637
Campus Life 617-824-8640
Student Care & Support 617-824-8163
Healing & Advocacy Collective 617-824-8857
Student Success 617-824-8650

The City of Boston and Commonwealth of Massachusetts offers these resources:

-Asian American Commission (Mass.)-
-American Chinese Christian Educational and Social Services, Inc. (ACCESS)
-Asian American Association of Boston
-Asian American Civic Association

These resources are available nationally:

-Stop AAPI Hate reporting site:
-Stand Against Hatred reporting site:
-Asian Americans Advancing Justice: What can you do about anti-Asian hate?
-Asian American Organizing Project

In times such as these, community and solidarity are more important than ever. Tonight at 8:00 p.m., Asian Students In Alliance is hosting an event (details available via EmConnect). The Center for Spiritual Life and Intercultural Student Affairs will host a vigil this Tuesday, March 23, at 6:00 pm (details will be posted on EmConnect). The annual Teach-In on Race this Thursday and Friday is an opportunity for all of us to engage in meaningful discussion about race, structural racism, and ways to combat its invidious effects on individuals, families, and communities.

Please take good care,
Lee Pelton, President
Jim Hoppe, Vice President and Dean of Campus Life
Sylvia Spears, Vice President for Equity and Social Justice
Michaele Whelan, Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs

Note: The date/time of the vigil hosted by the Center for Spiritual Life and Intercultural Student Affairs has changed from the original.

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