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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

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