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A Statement on Violence against Asians and Asian Americans

March 19, 2021

On Tuesday, March 16, 2021, we witnessed another horrific event. Eight people were killed, seven of whom were women and six of Asian descent, in the Atlanta area. As we digest yet another tragic event there is no other assessment than this – what transpired is reprehensibly wrong and is contrary to the values espoused by this academic medical center and held as core ethic within our community.

This attack follows over 3,800 Anti-Asian hate crimes over the past year. The recent violence against Asian Americans amplified by the COVID-10 pandemic, is part of a long history of racist violence against Asian American communities. As well, this attack is an unconscionable episode of violence against women, and brings back memories of traumatic personal experiences for many.

To our Asian and Asian American peers, friends and colleagues: We share your grief and mourn with you. You are not alone and we are here to support you. We care about you, your families and your communities. To be quiet about these events or to allow such to go without comment as if we are numb to horror, events of 2020 notwithstanding, belies the depth of our moral conviction that no event violating the human spirit and discounting the preciousness of life is ever OK. As we articulated in 2020, and we now echo today: “We are not OK.”

We align with the recent statement from Northwestern University’s Chief Diversity Officer, Robin Means Coleman and Vice-President of Student Affairs, Julie Payne-Kirchmeier – Solidarity with Asian and Asian American Communities: Leadership Notes - Northwestern University: “May we never forget the powerful role we each play in creating a more just and equitable community.”

We align with the statement from the Asian American Studies Program: “We share the pain, the sadness, and the anger among members of our community as we hear this all-too-familiar story. 

We similarly align with the Northwestern University leadership statement – This Week’s Tragic Events in Georgia: Leadership Notes - Northwestern University (released March 19, 2021): “We resolve to continue working toward building a society in which all people, from all backgrounds, are protected and valued… May we not tire of this work, and may we continue to look after one another during a fraught time.”

As we explicitly stated in 2020, at Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine and Northwestern Memorial HealthCare we are strident in our opposition to racism, sexism and xenophobia; our resolve is no less today. We stand with, beside and in solidarity with our Asian and Asian American Communities. We commit to not only recognizing the impact of racism on our community, but also to continue our work to dismantle harmful systems and build a more just and safe future.

We know this is a difficult time. We remind you that our Employee Assistance Program, the Faculty Wellness Program, CAPS, Campus Inclusion and Community, Multicultural Student Affairs, the Women’s Center, Office of Institutional Diversity and Inclusion staff affinity groups and a host of diversity and equity inclusion units throughout the campus are available to staff, faculty and students at all times.

For those seeking to support community members, we encourage you to sign up for bystander intervention training. Training is available through MyHRLearn anytime or Chicago's Asian American Advancing Justice Chapter where training is available through April.

Sincerely,

Clyde W. Yancy, MD, MSc
Vice Dean for Diversity & Inclusion