As Dean of the University of Connecticut School of Law, I join the statement below issued by the Asian Pacific American Law Students Association condemning Anti-Asian Hate Crimes and Discrimination. Our community stands against racism of every kind. No one should be subject to violence and incidents of hate. Yet, Asian Americans across the country are experiencing such violence and hate more frequently than at any time in recent memory. I call on all of us to join together as a UConn Law community to stand with our Asian, Asian American, and Pacific Islander students, staff, faculty, and alumni and stand up against anti-Asian hate.
APALSA Statement Regarding Anti-Asian Hate Crimes and Discrimination
Since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, and even more so recently, we are seeing an abhorrent and heartbreaking surge in violence against Asians, Asian Americans, and Pacific Islanders in the United States. Many of these hate crimes are maliciously targeted at our elderly, a vulnerable population. These crimes are constantly ignored and underreported, and like crimes against other people of color, anti-Asian violence has been under-scrutinized, under-prosecuted, and far too often condoned.
We are tired of seeing our community be violated and disrespected, we are scared for our families and loved ones, we are upset by the silencing of our voices, and we are saddened by the lack of support and solidarity around us. Anti-Asian sentiment is not new; from being labeled as the “yellow peril,” to the Chinese Exclusion Act of 1882, to the internment of Japanese citizens during World War II, we are constantly reminded that we are foreigners on “American land.” And yet, Asians are stereotyped as the “model minority,” a term that erases our struggles and is used as a racial wedge between Asians and other marginalized groups. Not only does it silence our experience, but it is weaponized in furtherance of white supremacy, to create an insidious divide among racial minorities and perpetuate anti-blackness.
It is our responsibility to condemn these violent acts, to raise awareness in our community, and make social changes. We must amplify Asian, Asian American, and Pacific Islander voices and find ways to protect our community. The rising violence against our community is an urgent reminder that racism and xenophobia are very real, and we must reinforce our commitment and strengthen our actions to dismantle all forms of racial discrimination. We stand with other communities of color and aim to be genuine allies to all. We especially recognize and honor our Black sisters and brothers for their leadership in fighting for justice and we echo their calls for solidarity, equality, and empathy. We are stronger when we act together and come together, and we can facilitate material change to the deeply ingrained issues of systemic racism and white supremacy.
If you are struggling with implicit biases, are experiencing, or have experienced any form of this violence, we are here for you. We are a community that protects and supports each other. UConn Law offers a number of resources for students seeking support, including free appointments with our two confidential mental health counselors, Yvonne Tafuto, LCSW and Melissa Stewart, LPC. Additionally, students are encouraged to reach out to the Office of Student Affairs if they are in need of mental health-related accommodations, or the student-run Mental Health Committee for those interested in discussing recent events with their peers. Finally, free off-campus confidential counseling services are offered to our students by the Connecticut chapter of Lawyers Concerned for Lawyers. Faculty and staff can seek support from the Employee Assistance Program. Support and resources for faculty and staff can also be found through campus affinity groups.
We send our highest respects and sincere gratitude to those students, affinity groups, faculty, staff, and alumni who provide us with help and care. We believe and we know that together we can create a safe and supportive environment for our UConn community through our collective words and actions.
To that end, we invite you to attend APALSA’s General Body Meeting on Tuesday, March 23 at 12:30pm. Also, plans are underway for a roundtable event on Thursday, April 8 at 5:00pm at which students, faculty, staff, and others can come together for dialogue, education, and personal reflections. We hope many members of our UConn Law community will be in attendance.
In hope and solidarity,
UConn Law APALSA