March 22, 2021
Dear College Community,
We begin a new week, after trying to process the devastating shootings in Atlanta, Georgia, last week. The entire nation is still in mourning, is angry and is coming together trying to heal from these very tragic events, which became the culmination of ongoing harassment in Asian communities all over our country. Over the weekend there were rallies all over the country calling for “Stop Asian Hate.”
Contrary to this being presented as a recent occurrence, Asian communities have faced racism for over 100 years in this country and we must all come together to stop it. For example, Chinese workers made up most of the workforce between roughly 700 miles of train tracks between Sacramento, California, and Promontory, Utah. During the 19th century, more than 2.5 million Chinese citizens left their country and were hired in 1864 after a labor shortage threatened the railroad's completion. From Seattle to Los Angeles, from Wyoming to the small towns of California immigrants from China were forced out of business, run out of town, beaten, tortured, lynched, and massacred, usually with little hope of help from the law.
Along with their Mexican co-workers, Filipinos performed the backbreaking farm labor throughout California and Washington as migrant workers. The United Farmworkers was successful in its initial formation to offer protections for workers, because Filipino leaders led the great grape boycott of 1965 and joined forces against the racist and inhumane treatment by white landowners.
To stop Asian hate, or racism against any group, we need to join together and become the voices for those under attack. We must also check in and provide support for those being attacked, especially those who might not be comfortable asking for help. There is a lot of fear in our Asian communities. It is up to each of us to eliminate this fear. CCSF stands in solidarity with our Asian communities. CCSF is a safe haven against hate of any kind. Do not forget all the resources we have available to everyone. Today and every Monday the Queer Resource Center hosts “Mental Health Mondays” at 1:30 pm. Join, find community, support and feel better.
In the words of Emmy winning Asian-American actress Sandra Oh at a #StopAsianHate rally: “I am proud to be Asian! I belong here! Many of us don’t get that chance to be able to say that.”
Rajen Vurdien, Ph.D.