Statement by Pacifica Graduate Institute Alumni Association (PGIAA) Regarding the Mass Shooting in Atlanta, Georgia on 17 March 2021
Earlier this week we witnessed a horrific targeted shooting in which eight people, six of whom were Asian American women, were murdered. We are heartbroken by this event, and we vehemently condemn the hate crimes, violence, and murder being perpetrated against the Asian American Pacific Islander (AAPI) community in the United States.
“We extend our heartfelt condolences to the friends and families of those who were senselessly murdered as a result of this shooting and pledge our solidarity and support to our Asian brothers and sisters during this painful and difficult time” –Indhushree Rajan
PGIAA reaffirms its wholehearted commitment to embracing the wondrous variety of its community, including peoples of all colors and creeds.
“As a first-generation Asian American immigrant to this country, I remember initially being on welfare, food stamps, and housing. To be where I am now in this society, I know, believe, and am a living testament to what our great nation actually stands for. The ‘American Dream’ is carried on the shoulders of immigrants. It is actually the immigrants’ dream of America. This ‘Land of Opportunity’ exists because of our collective dreams of betterment, and we Americans can do better. We must do better, for the sake of this shared dream” –Minh Trần
At Pacifica, we study the depths of the human experience, including the sacred stories and mythologies of the world that flow under and between cultures.
“As Depth oriented therapists, academics, and scholars we hold a responsibility to use our knowledge and available platforms to actively speak out against and combat the insidious hate, permitted violence, and ongoing racism that is at the root of these acts. . . .Therefore, we stand together with the Asian and Pacific Island American communities in actively naming, standing up against, and combating false narratives and misdirected claims. These roots may run deep, but our collective love and humanity runs deeper” –Abner Flores
In times of crisis, humans tend to draw together to survive and overcome hardships. PGIAA focuses on creating spaces and opportunities to affirm our shared humanity.
“Unfortunately, we also have to take a close look at that which divides us, such as the current surge of hate crimes and xenophobia. In the wake of the murder of six Asian women in Georgia, we urge everyone to bring more conscious light to this shadow which we have overlooked and untended for a long time. Now it is time for all of us to come together and tend the suffering of all wounded souls and collective healing as one nation” –Heesun Kim
PGIAA re-commits to listening to and amplifying the voices of those in its community that have felt silenced or threatened.
“As an Asian American woman living in a world where the Coronavirus has changed our lives, I often wonder if people I run into on a daily basis will say something to me, echoing sentiments of blame and anger. Ideas themselves can be viruses. . . . we’ve seen—and I’ve felt—the effects of Coronavirus being called the “China virus,” and unfortunately that has transformed into many people believing that all Asian people are to blame for this horrendous pandemic. I understand that it’s human nature to want to find an explanation for why bad things happen or to pinpoint who caused it, but the answer is not in making innocent fellow Americans feel uncomfortable just because of their heritage” –Name Withheld.
Our hearts break for those who have lost loved ones to racial violence and who live in fear.
“It is almost too much to bear to realize the inhumanity, hate, and fear lurking inside so many people. I am deeply saddened and angry by the recent attacks against Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders. The thought of my loved ones undergoing this abuse and fear shakes me to my core. We must recognize that this is a long-standing and systemic issue, not a new or recent one, and we must stand together to condemn and stop these attacks. Racism and hatred have no place within our hearts, communities, and nation” – Charles Caldwell
PGIAA denounces the actions and thoughts of white supremacy. Our Care Line is available for those in need of emotional support throughout these devastating times. Call 805-679-6163!
“Without acknowledging the danger and violence of white supremacy, there is no healing, no reconciliation, and no hope that it will end in the future. We will not tolerate this kind of injustice any longer. We also must acknowledge that micro-systems contribute to the macro-systems of injustice. . . . We have to acknowledge the injustice right in front of us if we want the systems as a whole to change. White supremacy must end, wherever it exists, even in Academia” –Nicole Taherzadeh
PGIAA also condemns violence against sex workers.
The Stop AAPI Hate Reporting Centerreleased a report covering the past year, documenting over 3,800 incidents of anti-Asian racism, with a spike of almost 150% in anti-Asian hate crimes in major US cities, including 122 hate crimes reported to date (Fact Sheet, Anti-Asian Hate). Additionally, violent crimes against sex workers go underreported, unaddressed, and often unpunished. According to a systematic review of research, globally, sex workers have a 45% to 75% chance of experiencing sexual violence on the job. (Immense thanks to Lizzie Rodriquez for these links.)
“We stand with our students, staff, and faculty of Asian descent. We stand with members of the Pacifica community who are members of the sex work community. We will not tolerate xenophobia, racism, misogyny, or discrimination of any kind. Times like these require us to intentionally expand our circle of concern and compassion. As a community, we can take action”—Lizzie Rodriguez
PGIAA extends love and thanks to all the members of our community. We offer the following suggestions to increase active support of Asian, Asian American, and Pacific Islander communities:
- Encourage those who experience or witness acts of hate to report an incidentat the Stop AAPI Hate website.
- File a discrimination report at your school or place of employment if an incident of discrimination or aggression occurs.
- Learn ways to intervene effectively as a bystander to stop anti-AAPI xenophobia and harassment. A free training is available through Asian Americans Advancing Justice.
- Stay informed about what is happening and why.
- Support organizations advocating for justice and an end to racism, like Stop AAPI Hate.
- Support Ethnic Studies in your local school districts and educational institutions; these help students identify the sources of racism and develop racial empathy and solidarity.
- Support local Asian-owned businesses.
PGIAA encourages participation in local, national, and global communities. We take seriously our practice of learning and spreading awareness about our human histories, cultures, and traditions. PGIAA upholds our pledge to expose and intervene in all demonstrations of racism.
We send our deepest condolences to the families of the victims of the shootings in Atlanta and to all who have suffered amidst growing anti-Asian racism and hostility in our community and our country. We stand in solidarity with all of our Asian, Asian-American and Pacific Islander community members who are in distress and denounce this horrific wave of anti-Asian violence and discrimination. All acts of racism and hate should not be tolerated nor ignored. We have a duty to each other to practice respect, humility, and love. We must all take a stand to eradicate violence, bigotry, and hatred in our nation. —Harry Grammer