In Support of the Asian Community
The recent rise in anti-Asian discrimination, bias, and violence is appalling and concerning. Horrific physical attacks (some fatal) on Asian American individuals, particularly women and elders, have increased significantly over the past several months in locations nationwide. Just last week, we saw another display of anti-Asian violence with the events in Atlanta that specifically targeted Asian-owned businesses and took the lives of eight individuals, including six Asian American women. These incidents have created immense anxiety, fear, and concerns for safety in the Asian community.
This attack is yet another example of not only anti-Asian discrimination, but also issues of violence against women and gun violence that are prevalent in this country. In the past year, Stop AAPI Hate reported nearly 3,800 anti-Asian incidents, with nearly 70% of them targeting women. Although these hate crimes are now receiving national media coverage and are being condemned by the current administration, they are a stark reminder of this past year’s upsurge in anti-Asian rhetoric and xenophobic language, associated with the COVID-19 pandemic, and their consequences. However, this behavior is not new, as discriminatory acts and policies in the United States have targeted the Asian American community since the 1800s, despite the community’s valuable contributions throughout this country’s history.
As a department, as is also reflected in the statements from university leadership at Virginia Tech and Wake Forest, we value and affirm our colleagues of Asian descent (both domestic and international) and denounce any act that causes them to not feel welcome or safe in our community. We encourage you to call out harmful language and rhetoric when you hear it, and report any instances of harassment. To allies, please take time to check in with your Asian colleagues, and recognize that events like this may place a heavy burden on some individuals in our community. Please also educate yourself on the history of anti-Asian discrimination in this country starting with some of the resources below. There are resources available to report incidents and to provide support during this troubling time.
-Written by the Biomedical Engineering and Mechanics (BEAM) Diversity and Inclusion Committee on behalf of the entire department
- Virginia Tech Dean of Students: https://dos.vt.edu/express_a_concern.html
- Safe Office, Wake Forest University: https://safeoffice.wfu.edu/
- Virginia Attorney General: https://www.oag.state.va.us/programs-initiatives/no-hate-va
- North Carolina Asian Americans Together Bias Reporting Portal:
o Nationwide tracking (multiple languages): https://stopaapihate.org/
- Virginia Tech Asian Cultural Engagement Center: https://ccc.vt.edu/index/acec.html
- Ombudspeople (for confidential discussions):
- Mental Health Resources:
- Student health resources (individual and group counseling available): https://ucc.vt.edu/
- Other health and wellness (graduate school): https://graduateschool.vt.edu/student-life/student-services/health-services.html
- Wake Forest Counseling Center: https://counselingcenter.wfu.edu/
- Women’s Center at Virginia Tech: https://www.womenscenter.vt.edu/
- Documentary on the history and contributions of Asian Americans in United States history PBS
- Op-ed from faculty members of the Virginia Tech Asian Pacific Islander Desi American Caucus Roanoke Times
- The long history of racism against Asian Americans in the U.S. PBS Newshour
- America's long history of scapegoating its Asian citizens National Geographic
- Lesson of the Day: A Rise in Attacks on Asian-Americans NY Times