Staff Editorial: Enough is enough: we need to listen to and support our APIDA peers
Nine days have passed since the March 16 Atlanta spa shootings that claimed the lives of eight individuals in an act of hate. We mourn the loss of these lives that were senselessly taken and the Student Life Editorial Board stands in solidarity with the members of the Asian, Pacific Islander and Desi American (APIDA) communities.
Grievously, this instance of racism and violence against APIDA communities is the latest in a long history of maltreatment. Racism against members of APIDA communities did not begin with the COVID-19 pandemic, yet it was exacerbated by it. Former President Donald Trump made commonplace the use of discriminatory phrases such as “WU Flu” and the “Chinese Virus” when referencing the COVID-19 virus. People in positions of power have been using this harmful, xenophobic language, leading to a common use of these phrases by the general population. Furthermore, the racism displayed against the Asian community during the COVID-19 pandemic intersects with a recent increase in hate crimes and racist acts targeted against Asian-Americans. A 64-year-old grandmother was assaulted and robbed of her belongings. An 84-year-old Thai immigrant was killed in San Francisco. A Filipino-American woman was coughed on and cursed at. This violence illuminates the abuse that members of the APIDA communities face, and it’s a pattern of hatred that needs to end.
We must remember, too, that racism is universal. It is not isolated to occur in one particular space. Racism is present everywhere, even at Wash. U., and we must stand up against it when we’re confronted with its existence. As a community, and as individuals, we cannot tolerate these blatant acts of hate. We cannot stand by while our peers are hurting. We must act.
Students have long been advocating for change, calling upon the University to address the issues of racism against APIDA communities. In 2019, members of APIDJ launched the “Disaggregated Data” campaign as a means to highlight the presence of underrepresented Asian groups at Wash. U. In 2021, groups are making the same ask yet again, but the University has made no public acknowledgment or announcement of plans to address the proposed change. We must do better.
The members of the Student Life Editorial Board thank Student Union and the Center of Diversity and Inclusion for providing resources for Asian students to seek mental health assistance and resources where students can continue supporting the causes of APIDA communities. We call upon the members of the Wash. U. community to show up when it comes to supporting members of APIDA communities. Go to the Disaggregate the Diaspora virtual town hall today, Thursday, March 25 at 6 p.m. CST. Attend the #StopAAPIHate Unity Vigil tonight at 7 p.m. CST to honor the lives of Daoyou Feng, Delaina Ashley Yaun, Hyun Jung Grant, Paul Andre Michels, Soon Chung Park, Suncha Kim, Yong Ae Yue and Xiaojie Tan. And when these events have passed, continue demonstrating your support. When these events are over, there will still be work to do, and we need to come together as a community to do the work and support our peers.