Like many, I have been saddened by the recent attacks on Asian-owned Atlanta spas, which saw eight people murdered—six of whom were of Asian descent and seven of whom were women. The surge of hate crimes this year has been appalling and unacceptable. Even as I write, there is yet another mass shooting, which has occurred in Colorado—the eighth in eight days. Hate crimes, often fueled by extremist views, have no part in a civil society and I am writing to remind all of our role in education to break down stereotypes and to quell such distances between people of differing backgrounds.
At EMA, we continue to condemn all discrimination, violence, and microaggressions against people of color—and especially now, those in our Asian community. We stand in solidarity with those who experience these occurrences far too frequently. At EMA, we believe in the power of diversity, and how it can improve the world in which we live. We also recognize that our society has been silent for too long on anti-Asian discrimination.
EMA’s most recent issue of The Yield magazine was about the power of belonging. When students and families feel connected to our communities, we know that there is power in our collective. As an association serving 1,300 member schools, we advocate for continued work toward the building of a more equitable and just society. Yes, our schools continue to be “a work in progress.” But, we’re also impressed with examples from our community of work being undertaken to respond to the wider challenges in society by creating cultures devoted to inclusion. Here are some resources for you and your school to use in better understanding the issues before our Asian colleagues:
- Understand and dismantle the myths of harmful stereotypes, conscious or subconscious.
- Take a course about racism in the United States and how to be an ally.
- Donate to organizations supporting the end of violence against Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders.
- Support Asian American businesses, both national and locally-owned.
- Speak up when you see social injustice occurring.
Note the words used above—they are active and invite you individually and your school family to understand, donate, learn, support, listen, and speak. In the Quaker School that changed my outlook at age 14, there hangs a portrait of one of the leading religious figures, with a saying, “Walk cheerfully over this earth answering that of God in every man.” While the language is not as inclusive as this WOman might like, the sentiment still resonates with me nearly 50 years later… “be kind, find connection with all—throughout this world.” Let us recommit ourselves to that important journey.
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