Standing in Solidarity with the Asian/Pacific Islander Community
The following statement from County Superintendent Steve Herrington calls on all educators to stand in solidarity with the Asian American/Pacific Islander community following recent acts of violence and bigotry.
The tragic shootings in Atlanta on March 17 are only the latest in a string of recent attacks, bullying, and hate crimes against the Asian American and Pacific Islander (AAPI) community that have occurred across the nation and in our own backyard. These reprehensible acts require us all to speak up and denounce racism and discrimination against our friends, neighbors, colleagues, and classmates.
Over the past year, we have seen ignorance and misinformation falsely connecting the AAPI community with COVID-19. It is imperative that we each take personal responsibility for correcting falsehoods and bigotry when we hear it.
We must also reach out to our AAPI friends, neighbors, and colleagues to express our solidarity and support.
It is tempting to believe that such racism and intolerance does not happen here in Sonoma County, but unfortunately that simply isn’t true. Asian American students have related stories of classmates flinching away from them or making jokes about Coronavirus in their presence. They have shared fears for their own safety or that of their families.
Educators have a powerful and important role to play in fostering tolerance and combating hate and ignorance within their classrooms. Especially as we return to in-person learning, we must all work together to prevent bullying and discrimination.
We must also take steps to recognize historic oppression and bigotry against this community—as well as celebrate the AAPI community’s diverse and rich contributions to our state and nation’s economy, culture, and history.
When we stand together, everyone is better off. I would like to share the words of a local high school student and member of the AAPI community, who shared with SCOE the following sentiments: “We're all in this together. No one's experiences need to be disregarded for another's to be brought up. AAPI hate is not an excuse to dismiss/distract from other struggles. Everyone faces evils and standing together is how we overcome this.”
For any members of the Asian American/Pacific Islander community struggling during these times, following are some resources for support that may be helpful.
- Asian Mental Health Collective: asianmhc.org
- SAMHSA hotline at 1-800-662-HELP
Steven D. Herrington, Ph.D.
Sonoma County Superintendent of Schools