Statement from President Jim Ryan on March 21, 2021
The murders of eight people, including six women of Asian descent, in Atlanta earlier this week were heartbreaking. I extend my deepest condolences to the families and friends who are grieving this terrible loss of life. This incident is a reminder of the alarming rise of violence and harassment against the Asian-Pacific community over this past year.
As I stated at our very first town hall meeting on the COVID-19 crisis in April 2020, attacks on Asians and Asian Pacific Islander Desi Americans (APIDA) are intolerable and reprehensible. They are a direct violation of the University’s – and America’s – values of mutual respect and solidarity, values that are especially important to protect when confronting a pandemic that both imperils our health and tears at the fabric of our community. Today, I write to reaffirm that message. Our Asian and APIDA students, faculty, and staff are integral to our identity as the University of Virginia and essential members of our community. Any attack directed against them is an attack on us all. We cannot and will not tolerate it.
I am heartened that President Biden and other U.S. government and law enforcement leaders have vowed to pursue any manifestation of hatred against the Asian and APIDA community with the full force of law and to defend and protect the victims of these heinous attacks. That is as it should be. But we are all obliged as citizens to do our part as well. That means refusing to accept rhetoric of hatred and bigotry whenever and wherever we hear it, offering our support and solidarity to victims of racist attacks, and working to reduce the climate of fear that can give rise to these incidents. It is in that spirit I welcome the call from our community in a petition to University leaders this week “to come together and proactively address the sources of such hatred and protect those targeted by such violence.”
I call on all of us to join in taking up this vow in defense of our Asian and APIDA community and against the poison of bigotry and intolerance.
The Office for Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion also released a statement at https://vpdiversity.virginia.edu/statement-anti-asian-incidents
- APIDA Community Space on March 25, 5-6pm. The virtual space will focus on processing the experiences of APIDA students amidst the rise of anti-Asian hate crimes and the recent shooting in Atlanta. Join MSS & CAPS on Zoom.
- CAPS support groups and spaces, including the International Students Support Circle and Students of Color Support Circle. CAPS also offers "Let's Talk" for drop-in, confidential consultations throughout the week.
- Free bystander intervention training to stop anti-Asian/American and xenophobic harassment from the Asian Americans Advancing Justice (AAJC) and Hollaback! organizations
- The ISO will also offer a second installement of the Navigating Race in the U.S. program for international students and scholars in April (date to be announced soon).
If you experience or witness harassment or a bias attack, please report it to UVA's Just Report It and contact law enforcement, if necessary.