Voices of Simmons

Standing in Solidarity with Our Asian-American & Pacific Islander Community

As we continue to process the aftermath of the horrific shootings in Georgia, I join our community and our nation in condemning these violent attacks and mourning the lives senselessly lost.

While the shootings, including possible motives, are still under investigation, this incident is part of a disturbing trend of increasing discrimination, racism and violence directed towards Asians, Asian Americans, and Pacific Islanders (AAPI) across the country. Anti-Asian hate crimes in the U.S. have surged nearly 150 percent over the past year, in part due to the deeply disturbing scapegoating and misinformation that have been perpetrated about the COVID-19 pandemic. But the prejudice directed at the AAPI community is also part of a larger, underlying history of systemic racism that has plagued our nation for far too long.

As I have stated, it is our responsibility both individually and collectively to do the vital work of creating a truly equitable, just, and inclusive community. As part of this work, it is imperative that we directly call out and confront racism, discrimination, and xenophobia in all of its forms. Only through our learning, scholarship, service, and the active power of our voices, can we help to bring about much needed change.

During the past year, our nation has experienced a racial reckoning that is not an end, but a beginning. At Simmons, we continue our commitment to elevating and addressing key issues of equity and racial and social justice. The President’s Advisory Council on Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (PAC) is working with a variety of internal and external partners to bring relevant training, programming, and other initiatives to Simmons to help broaden awareness of these key issues, to involve the community in these vital conversations, and facilitate further action.

I also want to share a few other ways to get involved. Colleges of Fenway (COF), with the help of PAC members, is working to organize an event in support of the AAPI community. Additional details will be available in the coming days. In addition, the Commonwealth has created a website with helpful resources on anti-Asian hate. Massachusetts is also hosting a virtual town hall next Thursday, where individuals can learn more about how the state’s Asian American community is organizing against racism.

In addition, The Simmons Health Center and Counseling Center are available via telehealth for student check-ins and mental health support. The Multicultural Center and the Office of Organizational Culture, Inclusion and Equity also offer resources and support.

We are proud to stand in solidarity with our Asian, Asian American and Pacific Islander students, faculty, staff, alumnae/i. I know that together, as a community, we will continue to listen, learn, and affirm our guiding principles of welcoming and empowering all forms of diversity. As we strive to become one of the most inclusive campuses in New England, it is vital that we foster a culture where every individual has a voice.

— President Lynn Perry Wooten

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