From the President

Taking Action Against Anti-Asian Racism

Feb. 11, 2021

Dear Students and Colleagues,

Particularly as we enter the Lunar New Year, it deeply saddens me to learn of continuing violence, threats and racism against the Asian and Asian American community. As we have seen, there has been a rise in violence against members of that community in our region and beyond, yet it continues to be underreported by mainstream media.

My heart goes out to those subjected to these attacks – most often the elderly – and to our students and colleagues who are emotionally affected by this undercurrent of threat, which surged at the time of the pandemic last year. I'm told that an ongoing survey by the Asian American and Asian Studies Department (ASAM) and the Asian Pacific American Staff Association (APASA) shows that two-thirds of respondents have personally experienced, witnessed, or been told by someone they know of an incident of anti-Asian hostility, even before the recent spate of violence. Please know that Psychological Services can provide services for students, and the Employee Assistance Program can assist our faculty and staff.

President Joe Biden showed great leadership within the first week of his term by signing an executive order directing federal agencies to combat xenophobia against the Asian American Pacific Islander community. The Foothill-De Anza Board of Trustees in May of last year approved a resolution denouncing xenophobia and anti-Asian sentiment. I was proud – shortly thereafter – to join this community of such care.

De Anza College condemns these acts of violence against our community members. And we must not only condemn, but take action as part of the equity work in which the college has long been engaged.

Early in the pandemic, ASAM chair Mae Lee developed website resources on the topic of addressing scapegoating of the community. This page was featured on key college websites during the early part of the pandemic, and is now linked from websites including the CAN/DID Inclusion Series page.

I hope you have been viewing the installments of the college's CAN/DID series, produced by the Office of Communications in consultation with the Office of Equity and others collegewide. Today there is a powerful new trailer on upcoming segments on anti-Asian racism and scapegoating.

Watch the Trailer 

Look for a new video in the series next week, featuring Mae and DASB President Katelyn Pan, with more installments to come. The Office of Equity, Social Justice and Multicultural Education will collaborate in planning a Community Conversation around an upcoming CAN/DID video on anti-Asian racism, with details to come soon on this and other important events.

Dean of Equity and Engagement Alicia Cortez has proposed an event specifically for our students, led by culturally responsive faculty – including counselors – and classified professionals, to hear student concerns and provide resources.

Significantly, Dean Edmundo Norte has announced that the Intercultural/International Studies Division will be developing a multiracial panel for an event to build support across all affinity groups – a step toward collective understanding, building alliances, and dismantling structural racism.

This is a crucial action, and Edmundo made an invaluable point in an email on which I was copied: "We cannot ignore the deadly impacts of silence as erasure in our AAPI and Native American communities any more than we can ignore the impacts of the demonization and targeting of Black and Brown bodies by police. We need to understand amongst each other how we are being both uniquely and collectively impacted."

I support this wholeheartedly, and look forward to these important events bringing our communities together. It must be noted, with great sadness, that this spate of violence against the AAPI community comes as we celebrate Black History Month, honoring the many accomplishments of Black men and women subjected to gross violence, historically and currently.

In this most challenging of times, I wish those in the Asian American and Pacific Islander communities a Happy Lunar New Year, with the hope that the Year of the Ox will be a good year for all in the De Anza College community. Please enjoy your long weekend.

With appreciation,
Lloyd A. Holmes
President, De Anza College

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