Support for Asian Pacific Islander Desi Americans and Asian Individuals

March 19, 2021

By Stephen Esquith, Dean of the Residential College in the Arts and Humanities

We live in a time of contradictions, sometimes very harsh contradictions that leave us wondering whom to turn to and which way the wind is blowing. As we celebrate the generosity shown to our students on Give Green Day, we are reminded of another reality, just as deep-seated and persistent in the world we inhabit: the calculated murder of eight people in Atlanta, including six women of Asian descent. 

While our laws may make it difficult to convict perpetrators of crimes like this as hate crimes, there is no doubt that this and similar attacks on Asian Pacific Islander Desi Americans and Asian individuals and communities are hateful racist acts that we must collectively repudiate. As a college committed to social justice, diversity, equity, and inclusion, RCAH denounces in the strongest terms such acts of brutality that target minoritized groups and women.  

One of the early phrases that RCAH students, faculty, and staff embraced is “live your learning.” That learning includes the lessons learned in contradictory moments like these. We must take pleasure and pride in the beauty of our everyday lives at the same time that we recognize its sharper cutting edges. Last night, RCAH alumni gathered online to read their poetry and shed light on the contradictions that drive our lives. There were moments of joy, humor, but also somber reflection. To balance on this razor’s edge, as the ancient Greek playwright Sophocles wrote, may indeed be our fate. To do this, we must keep the memory of those who have been the victims of racist and misogynist hatred alive and join those who lead the struggle against it.

For all of those who have had to fend off violent attacks in words and deeds, please know we stand with you, ready to listen and ready to speak out against racism wherever it occurs.