A message in response to recent acts of domestic terrorism and hate crimes against Asians, Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders

Dear AHS faculty and staff,

We join the UIC community in sadness and disgust at the brutal killings of eight people on March 16, including six Asian American women, in Atlanta. We stand in solidarity with the Asian, Asian American and Pacific Islander community (AAPI) of faculty, staff and students in AHS and write this statement not only to condemn these murders, but to highlight the growing number of domestic terrorism acts seeded by the poison of white supremacy that is surfacing in so many abhorrent ways across our country.

Xenophobia, harassment, violence, discrimination and systemic racism against Asian and Asian Americans has a long history in our country, probably most notable during World War II, when more than 120,000 Americans of Japanese ancestry living mostly on the coast, most of whom were US citizens, were forced to relocate and were cruelly incarcerated in US internment camps. These Americans were inappropriately blamed and punished for the attack on Pearl Harbor. The mounting number of crimes against AAPI people within the past year, including those against residents of San Francisco and New York, repeat this history in our present-day reality.  Unfortunately, these inhumane and discriminatory acts against AAPI people have too often been ignored, minimized, and overlooked. Sexism and violence against women are similarly not new, and were poignantly highlighted in the Atlanta killings. Moreover, violent racist extremism against the AAPI community have become even more prevalent since the politics of white supremacy have erroneously linked AAPI people with the onset of COVID-19.

As we stated in our message to you earlier this academic year in reaction to the heinous murders of George Floyd, Ahmaud Arbery, Breonna Taylor, Joel Acevedo, and many others, hate, racism, and white supremacy have no place in our college.  Neither do sexism and violence against women and other sexual minorities, and we ask all of you to be vigilant toward protecting our AAPI women and all women and sexual minorities within the AHS community, and beyond.

There are no simple words of comfort to offer you as members of our AHS community.  Please do not hesitate to reach out to your friends, family, and colleagues for support. Also be reminded of the UIC Employee Assistance Program (Geri Biamonte gbiamo1@uic.edu) should you feel you need further support.

In solidarity,
Bo Fernhall and Renee Taylor