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Condemning the Rise of Anti-Asian Prejudice and Violence

Dear Students, Alumni, Faculty, and Staff Members,

Throughout the past year, we’ve seen a precipitous rise in anti-Asian prejudice and acts of violence and hate across our country. Sadly, such racist and xenophobic behavior has long been part of our country’s past. Chinese exclusion, Japanese internment, xenophobic attacks on South Asians in the aftermath of 9/11, and much more — America’s history is marked by exclusionary and violent acts against people of Asian descent. 

On Tuesday night, we witnessed the brutal, horrific shootings in the Atlanta area. We may never know the killer’s true motivation, but the fact that six of the eight murder victims are women of Asian descent is a painful reminder that Asians, Asian Americans, and Pacific Islanders continue to suffer because of ignorance and hate.

The significant spike in verbal and physical attacks against members of the Asian community during the past year is likely due, at least in part, to the irresponsible and dangerous ways some of our country’s political leaders have characterized the origins of the COVID-19 pandemic. It is certainly fueled by the reemergence and renewed embrace of nationalism across the United States. We mourn for and stand with the victims of these crimes — and with all of you in the Swarthmore community and beyond who suffer from violence and intimidation fueled by ignorance, prejudice, racism, or xenophobia. Campus community members who may find themselves in a state of emotional or physical distress should know that we have resources to support you. Students can contact their assigned dean or Counseling and Psychological Services (610-328-8059). Faculty and staff members can reach out to Human Resources (610-328-8397) and take advantage of our Employee Assistance Programs and Mental Health Resources

It is clear to me now more than ever that our words and actions as a College community are critically important to creating and sustaining a multiracial democracy. By fully living into our mission and values — by exploring and embracing diverse views, working to understand perspectives of those who come from backgrounds and experiences different from our own, and treating each other with empathy — we can lead the way to a better, more just and equitable society.

Be safe, and be well, 

Val Smith