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A Note from Dr. Aaron J. Griffen, VP of Diversity, Equity & Inclusion on Recent Anti-Asian Violence

I reach out today with sadness, disappointment, and outrage around the recent racist incidents that have shaken our community. The violence we saw in Georgia earlier this week was a horrific example of the anti-Asian sentiments that persist across the country. 

This was an act of racism and arguably domestic terrorism against anyone of Asian descent. The calls for unity so as to not further divide our nation are an excuse to not hold accountable those who stoked these responses. Yes, we have a first amendment right to free speech; however, the 14th Amendment promises the equal protection of all citizens under law.

Where do we as a nation of “unalienable rights” go from here? Do we continue to focus on unity over division even when unity does not always extend to the most marginalized and minoritized groups?  Did we hope this would all go away once the election was over?  Many of us in the equity space said the election would not solve all of our country’s woes. The United States must hold accountable all who infringe on a citizen’s right to simply be “American”. 

This is not a political event nor a grandstanding opportunity to further a platform. This is and will remain who we are until local and national leaders do what they would want others to do for them and their families. This is beyond calls for curriculum change, anti-racism, and inclusivity. This is about a racial and social reckoning to answer what is core to our nation. Are we a nation of equal rights as provided under the 14th Amendment or are we a nation where the rights of all only exist when aligned with the comforts of a certain group?

We must continue to acknowledge the racism that plagues our country and communities.  And we must continue to love and support each other, particularly our community members of color who feel the weariness of this fight.  Every single one of us has a role to play in acknowledging, addressing and taking steps forward to creating a more inclusive, equitable and hopefully socially just society. 

If you’d like to explore more on this topic, here are just a few resources for you to leverage: