Statement in solidarity with Asian and Pacific Islander community members
Dear friends and allies,
We have now marked the solemn first anniversary of the World Health Organization officially declaring COVID-19 a pandemic. The virus’s death toll and effects have been felt internationally, albeit more starkly in underserved communities. What’s more, Asian and Pacific Islander individuals and communities have endured inflammatory and xenophobic rhetoric, harassment, and violence since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic — these are not isolated and new events. There is a long history of violence against Asian and Pacific Islander communities within the U.S., including the Chinese Exclusion Act, the wrongful incarceration of Japanese Americans during World War II, the murder of Vincent Chin in 1982, and the string of anti-Muslim hate crimes occurring post-9/11. Anti-Asian violence is intersectional and should be recognized in its many distinct forms, including the sexualization and fetishization of Asian women, emasculation of Asian men, and marginalization and exclusion of Asian immigrants and Asian LGBTQIA+ individuals.
The Swarthmore Alumni of Color (AOC) Committee rebukes all forms of anti-Asian violence and stands in firm solidarity with our Asian and Pacific Islander community members across the U.S. and globally. We see these events as another manifestation of racism and injustice affecting communities of color that echo ongoing instances of anti-Blackness and overpolicing of and excessive use of force against Black individuals. The needs across communities of color are surely nuanced and distinct, but the pain experienced among us is shared.
We, as members of the AOC Committee, remain committed to supporting and advancing issues of equity, inclusion, and belonging directly affecting our alumni members, both current and future, on campus and beyond. With this mission in mind, we would like to share a resource guide that provides information on books, media, educational resources, and social media accounts dedicated to bringing awareness to anti-Asian discrimination, as well as community and advocacy organizations to donate to and support, and ways to report anti-Asian hate crimes and instances of discrimination. If you have suggestions on ways that the AOC Committee can support and serve as a resource for you or others moving forward, please let us know by emailing AlumniOfColor@swarthmore.edu.
Alumni of Color Committee
Note: An earlier version of this statement included a reference to the "internment" of Japanese Americans. After learning about the work of Densho, the language now refers to "wrongful incarceration." Thank you to the alum who provided this education!