The following message was shared with the OHSU-PSU School of Public Health community on Saturday, March 20.
Dear members of the OHSU-PSU School of Public Health community,
We are saddened and horrified by the murders in Atlanta and Cherokee County this past week and express our deepest sorrow to the families of the eight people killed, six of whom were Asian women. This mass murder in Georgia is the most recent in a series of violent, racist attacks against the Asian American and Pacific Islander (AAPI) community since the pandemic started. Stop AAPI Hate received nearly 3,800 self-reports of anti-Asian racist incidents between March 2020-February 2021. These self-reports are most certainly an undercount of the racism our AAPI community members experience.
We can and must live up to the values we promote by putting an end to hate in our country. Many in our community face the dual threat of COVID-19 and anti-AAPI racism, which has been inflamed by the xenophobic and racist rhetoric of our former U.S. president. Thursday’s attack also highlights the long legacy of racist and colonialist misogyny faced by AAPI women and the violence that it fuels.
As a School of Public Health that is committed to advancing anti-racism, we condemn these attacks and commit to fighting AAPI racism in all its forms. To do so, we offer the following:
First, to our AAPI colleagues, students, community members: your wellbeing matters. We have resources available on both campuses to provide supports:
Second, to our non-AAPI community members, educate yourselves about AAPI-racism and how to actively support our AAPI community. The report co-authored by our SPH faculty member Dr. Betty Izumi and PIAAA Student Center Coordinator Bree Kalima describing AAPI student experiences at PSU will soon be available. Here are a few resources to get you started.
- The long, ugly history of anti-Asian racism and violence in the U.S.
- The Massacre in Atlanta Was As Predictable as White Supremacy
- Racist, colonialist and misogynist narrative abets violence against Asian American women
- Before the Chinese Exclusion Act, This Anti-Immigrant Law Targeted Asian Women
- Congressional hearing on Asian American violence (3:50)
Third, say something. Many of our AAPI friends, colleagues, neighbors are hurting right now. Let them know you see them and that you stand in solidarity with them. We’ve previously pointed you to a fantastic and free Bystander Intervention Training, cosponsored by AAJC (Asian Americans Advancing Justice) and Hollaback!. A number of SPH faculty, staff and students have now participated in these training last spring and found it effective for building confidence in how to intervene the next time you see Anti-Asian/American harassment online or in person. Hollaback has several upcoming trainings scheduled and we encourage you to take advantage of this resource (and for faculty and staff to use work time to do so). For those who participate, the SPH is creating a space to come together afterward to discuss, debrief, and identify concrete actions that we can take moving forward. Please let Dawn Richardson know if you would be interested in this opportunity.
Also, if you witness or experience bias or violence on our campuses, please reach out to the following:
Fourth, as a School, let us recommit ourselves to fighting racism and white supremacy in all of its forms, including anti-AAPI racism, and to creating a more diverse, equitable, and inclusive community. Ways to get involved locally include:
- Participating in the STOP Asian Hate rally to be held at Harrison Park next Friday, March 26th at 4:00pm. Come and listen to Asian members of the Portland community speak on anti-Asian racism & xenophobia.
- Send a message to your elected officials: The federal government, state, and local community responses to incidents of AAPI hate must be intersectional and responsive to the needs of Asian American women and elders.
- Familiarize yourself with Oregon’s HB 2337: Racism Is a Public Health Crisis, which has a hearing in the House Committee on Rules on March 23, 2021 at 1:00 pm. Over the past several months the Oregon Public Health Association (OPHA) has convened a task force of mostly BIPOC led organizations and community leaders to develop HB 2337 to declare racism as a public health crisis.
We in the OHSU-PSU School of Public Health must commit to acting now and acting consistently to realize the values of antiracism and equity that are the heart of our field. We know what needs to be done. We must do that work.
In solidarity and support,
Lynne Messer, MPH, PhD, Assistant Dean for Graduate Academic Affairs, Associate Professor & Dawn Richardson, MPH, DRPH, Associate Dean for Social Justice, Associate Professor, principal co-authors
Liana Winett, DRPH, MPH, MCHES, Associate Dean for Student Affairs & Community Engagement, Associate Professor
Richard Johnson, MS, PhD, Associate Dean for Academic Affairs, Professor
Belinda Zeidler, MST, Associate Dean of Undergraduate Programs, Academic Advisor, Assistant Professor
Karen Camp, MPA, Associate Dean for Finance & Administration
David Bangsberg, MD, MPH, Dean