We stand with President Tracy Fitzsimmons and the Shenandoah University community in solidarity with our Asian, Asian-American, and Pacific Islander (AAPI) students, faculty and staff. Not only do we condemn racism that is happening in our country, but we also seek to be a beloved community that holds space for the multiple stories and experiences of our Asian and AAPI community.
What does it mean to be in solidarity? It means that in the places that people have had to be vulnerable in society, in the places where they have had to shrink themselves, or have been marginalized, we stand with them. Even though racism has been talked about primarily in terms of anti-Black racism, we recognize that the Asian and AAPI communities have been targets of racist language related to COVID-19 and violence in our society. This is unacceptable. In walking in solidarity, we recognize and call out that violence.
We also recognize that anti-Asian racism and violence has historically happened and continues to exist on a continuum that includes tokenism, Orientalism, xenophobia, exoticism and invisibility. We take this time to foreground the lived experiences of our Asian and AAPI students, faculty and staff. One Asian member of our community recently wrote that sometimes, from their perspective, they may not speak out as much about things or feel the need to call for justice for themselves. We live in a society where some people’s experiences tend to be centered as the norm. Of those who have been historically marginalized, there are those that we hear from often, and rightfully so. Both the dominant experiences of some and the more talked about marginalized experiences of others can make it challenging to be heard. But we will not flatten these experiences. Just because some of our Asian and AAPI community may have stood in the background at times, it does not mean that we will accept or normalize the erasure of their stories.
They get to name themselves and take up their space and we get to listen and support. That is our solidarity. That is our value of inclusion. We are incomplete without our Asian and AAPI community members. To our Asian and AAPI students, faculty and staff, we hope in the coming months and years that we will continue to grow in celebrating and hearing of your experiences in whatever capacity you would like to share with us.
It is for all of us at SU and in society to call it out, to understand the structural racism and stereotypes that exist, to examine anti-Asian bias within ourselves, and to hear the stories and the counter narratives — not just of marginalization, but of beautiful diversity, cultural heritage, and humanity in our Asian, Asian-American, and Pacific Islander students, faculty and staff. This is their experience. But this is our problem as a society. And the solution is in solidarity while centering their voices.
Assistant Provost for Inclusion, Diversity, and Equity
Assistant Dean of Students for Diversity, Inclusion, and Residential Services
Assistant Athletics Director for Student-Athlete Success, DEI, and Compliance
Because it is our problem and demands our solidarity, let’s educate ourselves with these and other resources:
- Anti-racism resources to support Asian American, Pacific Islander community
- Sue, D. W., Bucceri, J., Lin, A. I., Nadal, K. L., & Torino, G. C. (2009). Racial microaggressions and the Asian American experience.
- Mukkamala, S., & Suyemoto, K. L. (2018). From Exotic to Invisible: Asian American Womens’ Experiences of Discrimination.
- Orientalism in the Age of COVID-19
- Watch Asian Americans recount racist microaggressions they experience every day (2016)
- Micro’ Aggressions, Large Lasting Effects
- PBS Documentary ‘Asian Americans’
- Southeast Asian Countries
- Health and Wellness