Dear Colleagues, Friends, and Members of the Sofia University Community
I invite you to join me in condemning the increasing anti-Asian violence, racism, discrimination, and virus blaming directed against Asians in our neighborhoods.
The March 16 shootings in three Asian-owned businesses in Georgia have brought the increasing level of violence against Asian members of our communities into the headlines again. Crimes targeting Asians have risen dramatically since the beginning of the coronavirus pandemic. A US-based coalition, Stop AAPI Hate, reported over 3,800 discrimination incidents in the past year against Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders, and speculates that the number could be much higher. The Pew Research Center reports that three in 10 Asian Americans (31%) report having experienced racial slurs or racist jokes since the beginning of the pandemic.
Damaging populist rhetoric about the origins of COVID-19 has stroked unwarranted suspicion, fear, and hatred of Asian American/Pacific Islander communities. Unfortunately, a common feature of populist and authoritarian societies is to look for “others” (people not-like-us) to blame and use as an excuse for economic, political or social failures. Defining a “common enemy” not only mobilizes the base, but it is also a deflection technique used to attract unhappy souls seeking to explain and blame others for their perceived loss of privilege or worth and empower them to vilify and demean others, not like them.
As faculty, staff, and students at Sofia University we celebrate and embrace diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) as core intrinsic values. We are all enriched by inclusivity and are stronger because of our differences. We stand united with members of the Asian community who are experiencing anguish and fear in light of the racism, discrimination, and xenophobia directed at them.
As a learning community, it is our responsibility, to speak out against violence and racism and especially these days, that directed against Asians in our communities. We need to use our voices to dispel fears and stereotypes and condemn those who find the need to blame others as a passport for their discriminatory behavior. We need to take a more integral approach to address identity-based hate crimes, marginalization, and oppression.
As Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. observed “injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere.”
Join me in condemning xenophobia, racism, and discrimination against Asians in our communities by reaching out and supporting them in our neighborhoods.
With deep respect and sincerity,
Allan Cahoon Ph.D., Acting President
Offering a Platform for Conversation
Stream Sofia’s Virtual Discussion, “Asian American Experiences During Racially Charged Times: A Transpersonal Perspective”
Marilyn Schlitz, PhD, professor for the Doctorate in Transpersonal Psychology program at Sofia, an acclaimed social scientist, award-winning author, and charismatic public speaker moderated the virtual panel discussion to explore issues of race, ethnicity, and personal and cultural identity within the Asian American experience.
We sought to understand the root cause of the problems we now encounter as a community of learning. In particular, we used a transpersonal lens to share our individual and collective responses to these turbulent times. Through perspective-taking, shared personal storytelling, and identification of tools for our daily use, we aimed for an evolving awareness about social justice, how suffering can lead to breakthroughs, and how personal experiences can open our hearts to compassion and spiritual insights.
Speakers included Diana Lee Inosanto, Actress and Director most widely recognized for her role as Magistrate Morgan Elsbeth on The Mandalorian, Peggy Wu, PhD, Alumnus of Sofia and Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist, and Ann Hsu, PhD, a Licensed Clinical Psychologist.
What You Can Do
Here Are a Few Resources to Get Involved
- iHollaBack.Org – Check out these tips on what you can do if you witness harassment.
- StopAAPIHate.org or StandAgainstHatred.org – Report hate crimes.
- NAPABA – Report hate crimes and check out other great resources surrounding hate crimes.
- Act to Change – Make a donation to Act to Change, a non-profit that works to address bullying.