Dear Salem State Community,
The 2021 Asian American and Pacific Islander (AAPI) Heritage Month Collaborative invites all Salem State alumni, faculty, staff, and students to be in solidarity against racism, come together as a community, and celebrate the richness of the Asian American Pacific Islander communities this April. As we unfortunately surpass the one year mark of the pandemic, which began with racist verbal and physical attacks against the AAPI communities, we are saddened that the racial prejudice has only escalated and continues today. As the AAPI Heritage Month Collaborative this year, we want to bring attention to and condemn the violence and hatred directed at the Asian and Pacific Islander communities taking place in our country.
Nearly 3,800 anti-Asian racist incidents, mostly against women, were reported over the past year. In February 2021 alone, a 61-year-old Filipino man was slashed with a box cutter on a New York City train; a 52-year-old woman was shoved to the ground in Flushing, Queens; an Asian woman was punched in the face on a subway platform and a Los Angeles man was beaten with his own cane at a bus stop. Just this week, eight were killed in a domestic terrorist attack, including six Asian women, in Atlanta, GA. These horrific events highlight the longstanding effects of systemic racism, xenophobia, and misogyny directed at the Asian and Pacific Islander communities within the states.
The AAPI Heritage Month Collaborative wants to ensure we acknowledge the disparate abuse that manifests because of misogyny and racism in our country specifically, and how it uniquely creates fear for so many of our community members. We deeply condemn these acts of racist, sexist, and ageist violence. It’s important to know that this violence is not new, which includes and intersects with the systemic violence that hurts the Black and brown communities, and we must act together now to prevent future bias-related incidents.
We recognize that these instances of brutality undeniably impact our AAPI colleagues, students, and university community members. We call upon the action of non-Asian people of color and white members of our community to serve as accomplices in dismantling these systems of oppression that have been allowed to continue for too long. Whenever possible, we encourage you to take a stance, hold your communities accountable, and challenge the popular misconceptions that are associated with the AAPI communities locally, nationally, and globally.
While there is much pain, hurt, and harm from the past year alone, we strongly believe that we must also make time and space for moments of joy, healing, and celebration of AAPI communities, recognizing that Asian, Asian Americans, Native Hawaiins, and Pacific Islanders have different cultures, heritages, and experiences in relations. We invite you to join us this April, as we will be hosting and co-sponsoring moments and events of celebration, education, resources, including our distinguished Keynote Speaker, and more as we recognize AAPI Heritage Month 2021: Stop AAPI Hate - Solidarity, Community, and Celebration.
We close this statement and invitation to share our deep condolences with the families and communities impacted by systemic violence. We cannot and will not sit silent as injustices continue to anger, exhaust, and sadden marginalized communities. To stop AAPI hate, only means to stop systemic racism. We urge you to share this message and invitation with others as we find ways to act and move forward as a community.
Salem State University 2021 AAPI Heritage Month Collaborative
The 2021 AAPI Heritage Month Collaborative includes members from the Asian Student Association (ASA), Asian Employee Resource Group (ERG), Frederick E. Berry Library, Human Resources, Inclusive Excellence, and Leadership, Engagement, Advocacy, and Diversity (LEAD) Office
Kin Kato, Salem Normal's first Asian student. She later went on to Wellesley before returning to Tokyo to teach at a normal school there.
(1885-1890). Kin Kato. [image]. Retrieved from https://library.artstor.org/asset/SS35279_35279_15800810 (Source provided by Susan Edwards, Archivist, Salem State University Library)