Dear WashU Community,
The Center for Diversity and Inclusion stands in support and solidarity with our students, staff and faculty who have been devastated by the racial violence against our Asian, Pacific Islander and Desi American (APIDA), immigrant, and international student communities. The increased attention to the acts of hate and violence of the past year, the murders over the past few months and the targeted assassinations of Asian women in Atlanta this week have not happened in a vacuum. We need to start with naming the roots of this racist violence as a product of white supremacy which has fueled generations of hate towards APIDA and immigrant communities in the U.S..
In this moment, we must call out the history of silence that has existed around the commodification, objectification, exotification and sexual assault of women of color and specifically, APIDA women. In this space we must include our LGBTQIA+, non-binary, mixed race, the disagregated diaspora of our APIDA communities, and acknowledge and include the intersectionality of identities. The complexities of these intersections are often exploited and silenced by harmful heteronormative ideologies. In this systemic silence is misogyny, white supremacy, male privilege and as a result, death.
The context of death to our Black, Indigenous, Latina/o/x, LGBTQIA+, and APIDA communities sits in direct connection to the commodification and dehumanization of our existence. The objectification of these bodies as property has not left the consciousness of our society and in fact continues to be a foundation for power and privilege. These ideas of oppression have silenced the narrative of existence as people and the struggle for representation in our society and on our campus.
For too long xenophobia and white supremacy have attempted to facilitate an erasure of APIDA experiences and effectively decouple the coalition between Black, Indigenous and Latina/o/x communities. We must remain committed to each other, to understanding the struggles each of our communities are dealing with, and specifically addressing colorism, anti-Blackness, homophobia and classism informed by white supremacy, misogyny, and hegemony designed to deconstruct the connectedness between communities of color.
As the Center for Diversity and Inclusion at Washington University in St. Louis, we stand in direct opposition to these systems of oppression and will use our voice to break the silence by centering the experiences of minoritized identities of our undergraduate, graduate, professional, and international students through education and advocacy. Please continue to engage in the support resources for our community who have been impacted by these acts of racial violence and educational opportunities for allies provided by our campus and offered around the country to support each other.
Over the next week we will open up spaces for dialogue and connection on the issues impacting APIDA students on campus and in our community. We will host a virtual #StopAAPIHate Unity Vigil on Thursday, March 25 at 7:00 p.m. to come together as a community.
Mark Kamimura-Jiménez, Ph.D.
Associate Vice Chancellor for Student Affairs and Dean of the Center for Diversity and Inclusion
Aeryel Williams, Ph.D.
Training and Education Specialist, Center for Diversity and Inclusion
Rev. Callista Isabelle
Director, Office for Religious, Spiritual and Ethical Life