As anti-Asian hate crime increases, university departments chime in on their condemnation of racist, sexist rhetoric and violence towards the Asian American Pacific Islander communities. Photo by Jason Leung on Unsplash
By Taylor Helmes, Editor in Chief
Updated at 6:30 p.m.
CSUDH President Thomas A. Parham, the Asian Pacific studies program, and the California Faculty Association (CFA) have issued statements of solidarity and support in the Asian and Pacific Islander community. However, instead of participating in performative activism and only focusing on social media advocacy, Parham urges that action is to be taken as well.
“Despite our progress over the past two centuries, we are still reeling from the legacy of such racist and bigoted legislation,” he wrote in a campus-wide email last night. “I would like to encourage the Toro Nation to join our fellow CSUs on Friday, March 26, for a national day of action and healing to #StopAsianHate.”
CSUDH’s Asian Pacific studies program and Student Psychological Services planned on hosting a healing and education workshop for students to join Friday. But due to the low turnout and lack of participants, the event Friday was canceled.
Asian and Pacific Islander studies professor, Dr. Connie Chang, sent out an email Friday afternoon informing attendees of the cancellation. However, the March 30 workshop for staff and faculty is still scheduled.
“APP is working with Student Psychological Services to provide students the Healing Circles workshops slated for the end of April and early May,” Chang said.
The Asian Pacific Studies Program statement echoed the president’s message of condemning anti-Asian discrimination and violence. Citing back to the mid-19 century and recalling the Chinese Exclusion Act and Asiatic Barred Zone Act, the APP faculty explain how this behavior and ideology goes back hundreds of years.
“We are committed to fighting against such societal vices as racism and sexism in defense of the dignity, rights, and equal footing of Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders in society,” the statement reads. “At the same time, our histories of oppression and our vision for social justice and equality are shared by many others and we will continue to work in solidarity with them to build an equal and safer society for all.”
Over the last year, there has been nearly a 150% increase in anti-Asian hate crimes, the most recent being the Atlanta shooting, which left eight dead, including six Asian women. Since the start of 2021, there have been more than 500 anti-Asian hate incidents.
The CFA, along with the Asian Pacific Islander Desi American Caucus (APIDAC), a group within the CFA that promotes equity and social justice on CSU campuses, released a statement March 24, saying they were “nauseated” over the “increased hateful, racist anti-Asian rhetoric and violent countrywide physical assaults against Asian Americans.”
Calling out the CSU system, the CFA APIDAC says the real threat is white supremacy.
“White Supremacy allows for this kind of treatment and to conveniently disguise these acts as acceptable,” Lisa Kawamura, a communications studies lecturer at Cal Poly San Luis Obispo and co-chair of the CFA APIDAC said in the statement. “There are so many ways that APIDA faculty are mistreated and marginalized in the CSU.”
Parham noted in a March 2 email, bringing attention to the rise in Asian American violence, to approach such “mindless aggression” from those expressing racism and hate, to meet them with a more peaceful stance. He cited a Japanese legend saying that gifting a thousand origami paper cranes to those who are ill as a wish for health and a quick recovery.
Parham had this to say: “Perhaps we can use that same symbolism to wish that the sickness and pathology of racism in this country can be healed, and that those who have been assaulted by this pernicious evil can once again feel safe in the spaces they occupy and visit, love in their hearts and peace in their spirits.”