I have been greatly concerned over the last several months to see that hate crimes are on the rise against the Asian Pacific Islander community. The Center for the Study of Hate and Extremism at California State University, San Bernardino, recently released the results of a 2020 survey of police departments in 16 major U.S. cities. The results found a 149% increase in anti-Asian hate crimes from the previous year.
These shocking numbers are frightening by themselves; it means people are struggling with fear and anxiety that permeates personal and professional lives and relationships. I also know that while these are recent data points, anti-Asian sentiment has been a part of our society for far longer. I want to acknowledge that violence, harassment, and other racist actions and comments directed at one community affects all of us as a collective university community.
Vice Chancellor Renetta Garrison Tull of the Office of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion released a statement last month drawing attention to this issue and calling for the community to come together in support of the Asian Pacific Islander community. I also recommend reading a message she released last year about putting our Principles of Community into practice, and in particular, learning how to be an Upstander.
Today, I want to reiterate the message I included in my Feb. 21 weekly letter to the community: I condemn the increased racism and xenophobia directed at the Asian Pacific Islander community. I urge each of you to turn once more to our Principles of Community, which provides us with a roadmap of behavior, attitude and reflection: “We affirm the dignity inherent in all of us, and we strive to maintain a climate of equity and justice demonstrated by respect for one another.”
For those in need, we have resources available through our Asian Pacific Islander Retention Initiative, and our Cross Cultural Center also lists resources for those who would like to reach out or learn more. The Office of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion has a webpage with links to resources for racial trauma.
Each of us has the power to make a positive, constructive difference in the lives of others. Please join with me in acknowledging the pain that our Asian Pacific Islander family, friends and colleagues are struggling with in light of systemic violence and xenophobia. I know our UC Davis community will continue to strive to be a place where each person is welcomed and respected. We are stronger and healthier together.