To All Members of the University Community,
As our nation continues to grapple with an evolving pandemic and racial reckoning, it is with a heavy heart to learn that eight people were killed at three separate Atlanta-area spas on Tuesday.
I would like to extend my sincerest and deepest condolences to the families and friends of those who were lost. As we begin to understand more about this tragedy in the coming days, we will also question why we continue to experience these senseless acts of violence across the nation.
While the suspect has stated that race was not a motivating factor in their acts, six of the deceased were women of Asian descent. Over the past year, there has been an alarming increase in racist incidents directed at Asian Americans, as well as an anti-Chinese dialogue across our country.
Regardless of whether these attacks were racially motivated or not, tragedies like the one in Atlanta continue to amplify the growing concern and worry that many Asian Americans experience on a daily basis – am I safe in my own country?
As a nation, we must come together and be vigilant and decisive in combating Xenophobic and racist behavior wherever we find it. We must do our part to support people in our professional and personal communities and speak up and speak out for all communities who are targeted. Collectively, we must rally around the belief that we, as a country and a University, must create a community that is welcoming to all.
Despite the harmful and violent intentions of some, I am continuously encouraged by the overwhelmingly selfless acts of support in times of tragedy, where our collective strength resides in our shared sense of decency and respect. Hate-filled actions will continue to strengthen our resolve at the University of Michigan as we combat racism both on our own campus and beyond.
I want to salute and support members of the U-M APID/A (Asian, Pacific Islander, Desi/American) communities who have come together to form a task force against AAPI hate and violence, including the development of reporting incidents of hate and providing community support.
I also want to promote several upcoming events in support of the U-M APID/A communities These events are representative of the strength and resilience that resides in our communities.
I encourage everyone in the U-M community to participate in our Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month events that begin today and the March 26 event “Contextualizing Violence Against Asians and Asian Americans Within the History of U.S. Relational Racism” presented by our Women’s and Gender Studies Department. Also, join us on Thursday, March 18, for the event “Anti-Asian Racism and Asian American Activism during the Covid-19 Pandemic,” from 12-1 pm EST.
Additionally, for those who have been impacted by this, or other events, several campus resources are available to the U-M community:
- Faculty and Staff Counseling and Consultation Office (FASCCO) – ch/bvmp8
As we continue our efforts to combat racism while working towards a more diverse, equitable and inclusive community, please know that during these difficult and challenging times, we at U-M and across the nation are all in this together – all of our destinies depend on a more just world.
We will be the change we wish to see in the world.
Robert M. Sellers
Vice Provost for Equity and Inclusion
Chief Diversity Officer