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Standing in Solidarity

March 18, 2021
To: 
All Students
From: 
Kevin G. McDonald, Allen W. Groves, and Emily Springston

Dear students:

Over the past year of the COVID-19 pandemic, there has been a disturbing rise in anti-Asian bias and hate incidents. Stop Asian American Pacific Islander Hate, a hate tracker created last year by several groups, has recorded approximately 3,800 incidents of racism and discrimination targeting Asians and Asian, Pacific Islander, and Desi Americans (APIDA) from March 2020 through February 2021.  On Tuesday, eight people were murdered, including six Asian women, in the Atlanta area, further raising the level of fear and concern.  In a speech last week, President Joe Biden specifically called out the “vicious hate crimes against Asian-Americans, who have been attacked, harassed, blamed and scapegoated.”

The University community mourns the loss of these lives in Atlanta, and we stand in firm solidarity with Asian and APIDA students, faculty, staff, and local community members who have experienced acts of racism, xenophobia and related harassment since the COVID pandemic first began.

Anti-Asian and APIDA harassment and violence must be challenged and stopped, and each of us has a role to play.  We must do the hard work that will help ensure that our future is different, more just, more accepting, and more inclusive.  The future we envision is one in which the devaluing of the basic humanity of others is no longer accepted.

Part of building for a more just future includes facing and understanding our past, and how we arrived at the place we are today.  We encourage you to read “‘A Race So Different’: Asians and Asian Americans in UVA’s History” by UVA Professor Sylvia Chong, in order to better understand our own institution’s past.  We would also like to highlight the recent survey and report by the Asian Student Union at UVA, which shares the vibrancy, excellence, and impact of the APIDA community at UVA.

Finally, we want to make sure you are aware of University resources for support and reporting.  If you witness or are the victim of bias-motivated harassment or a hate crime, please do not hesitate to report the incident via UVA’s Just Report It system.  We also encourage you to make use of Counseling and Psychological Services (CAPS) and the Office of the Dean of Students, including staff in Multicultural Student Services, at any time you feel you need support.

Let’s commit to work together to support our peers and fellow community members who may be targeted by acts of hatred in this challenging time.

Kevin G. McDonald
Vice President for Diversity, Equity, Inclusion and Community Partnerships

Allen W. Groves
University Dean of Students

Emily Springston
Associate Vice President for Equal Opportunity and Civil Rights