The following are portions and updates of the statement I wrote for the program in which I am a faculty member. I pasted it here for folx who might want resources, learn more, need a base for how you might write something, or because maybe you own institution didn't write one and this can be affirmation. The one I sent to my students was a bit longer, including some brilliance that was generously shared from Dr. Dian Squire, whose own example was instrument in how I crafted mine.
Some of you might be following closely to the news, while others of you will be learning about this for the first time. Last night (March 16), a white, 21-year-old shot and killed 8 individuals in Atlanta, Georgia— six of whom were Asian and Asian American and seven of whom were women. In the reports detailed by Korean newspaper, Chosun, some of these individuals include elders and grandmothers.
A year ago, many of you received an email from me regarding anti-Asian rhetoric and hate regarding the discourse around Covid-19. In that email, I described how the reporting and rise of Anti-Asian (and especially anti-Chinese) violence was both related to the now-former president's harmful rhetoric but also related to a much longer history of stereotyping and associating disease with Asians as well as the construction and history of Yellow Peril. Since then, the organization Stop AAPI Hate has documented over 3,795 incidences from March 19, 2020 to February 28,2021 and includes the following disturbing and concerning conclusions [read full report here]:
Even further, we can take another step back to think about how Asians came to the U.S. and the larger global economies of imperialism and war (see Dr. Catherine Ceniza Choy's Empire of Care: Nursing and Migration in Filipino American History) which even then trickles down into how we are socialized to think about food (see Dr. Mark Padoongpatt's Flavors of Empire: Food and the Making of Thai America). This same week, the U.S. deported 33 Vietnamese refugees; all of this is deeply intertwined. To learn more, in addition to the books and articles I've recommended, consider watching PBS's "Asian Americans" series, reading and looking at organizations like AAPI Women Lead and Asian Americans Advancing Justice.
What this means for us, especially as student affairs professionals and faculty, are three things:
Writing this statement is especially difficult for me as an Asian American woman, and frankly, felt almost impossible for me to write as I am still processing and still grieving. Your Asian and Asian American friends, classmates, and colleagues may be feeling similar, and additionally feeling invisible considering the (general) lack of news coverage about Asians and Asian Americans and the geopolitical history of invisibilizing Asians in the midwest (see Dr. Jason Chan's dissertation). Consider reaching out to them and check-in. And as this statement might have shared new information to you, consider reading and learning more of the history that was not taught to us— read about Asian American and Pacific Islander (AAPI) people; learn their histories; and hear their stories. And in doing so, consider how we might be more intersectional in our analyses and the ways we are challenging for student affairs, higher education, both as a field and in our respective positions, to do and be better.
Dr. Katherine S. Cho
[A/N: March 18, 2021]
In a previous version of this statement, I did not include the Page Act of 1875, which is earlier than the more well-known Chinese Exclusion Act of 1882. In including it, I have been reflecting on how for the little I learned about Asian American history, I was only taught the latter and not the former, which (again) reifies the relatioship between race, gender, and immigration.
In a year, I read somewhere around 100-200 books. I don't have a TV and I use reading as a form of escape, and I especially like reading outside of academia. It also helps with improving my writing :)
When I'm trying to concentrate, I like having background music that's super dramatic. For some reason, instrumental music is instrumental (pun!) in helping me concentrate. Most of the songs are Korean-drama OSTs (original sound tracks), w/ a few classical music scores in the mix!
I don't categorize anything other than my "random round-ups" because it takes too much work (insert laughing emoji).