In response to the increase of hate speech and violence on the AAPI (Asian/Asian-American Pacific Islander) community, the Diversity, Equity & Inclusion Community (DEI) hosted an AAPI Community Healing and Reflection Event on March 24 at 4:30 p.m. EST. The advocacy center, Stop AAPI Hate, reports nearly 3,800 hate incidents against the Asian community over the last year. The Wednesday event, which welcomed all Seton Hall members, provided a safe, healing, and reflection space where participants were encouraged to connect with the community, share campus resources, and discuss ways to help. Fifty-three Seton Hall community members, including faculty, staff, administrators, and students, attended the event.
The event began with a moment of silence for lives lost due to racial injustice in marginalized communities. The eight victims' names in the March 16 mass shooting at three Atlanta-area spas and massage parlors (Daoyou Feng, Hyun Jung Grant, Paul Andre Michels, Suncha Kim, Soon Chung Park, Xiaojie Tan, Delaina Ashley Yaun, and Yong Ae Yue) were read aloud.
The event's purpose was to provide an inclusive, respectful environment where members could share their feelings, experiences, comments, and observations. Members of the group acknowledged that although the uptick in racism has been amplified because of the pandemic, there has been a long-standing history of prejudice and discrimination towards the Asian community since the 1850s.
Co-Chairs of the DEI Committee, Dr. Shawna Cooper-Gibson (Vice President, Student Services) and Dr. Jonathan Farina (Associate Professor and Chair of the Faculty Senate) reiterated the DEI statement condemning the increased xenophobia and bigotry and urging community members to strive to be active advocates, upstanders, and allies for marginalized groups. The DEI Committee's resources were highlighted, including the Bias Education Response Team and opportunities to participate in anti-racism training. An anti-Asian racism training is being developed, which will include resources from Stop AAPI Hate, Bystander Intervention Training, and other anti-Asian violence sources. The DEI Committee is planning events and programming for AAPI Heritage Month in May.
Dr. Yu Chak Sunny Ho and Dr. Chris Clemons, staff psychologists in the Counseling and Psychological Services (CAPS), encouraged students to reach out if they are dealing with feelings of anxiety, fear, grief, or depression. Members noted that harassment and racial injustice could negatively impact marginalized groups' psychological and mental health over time. Fr. Colin Kay (Interim VP, Mission & Ministry) reminded members of the spiritual services and support offered through Campus Ministry.
Dr. Monica Burnette (Associate Vice President & Chief of Staff, Student Services) closed the event with the following reflection:
We are all struggling to understand, process, and decide how we can make a difference. We thank our allies and leaders on this call. We stand determined to bring people together to put in the hard work to drive necessary change in condemning hate, racial discrimination, and violence in all forms. If you have a chance, please check in with your colleagues and classmates to express your support; it means a great deal. To our Asian community, we see you, and we support you. Please ensure you are prioritizing your peace and self-care. Let us know how we can help. If you have other suggestions and feedback, please email firstname.lastname@example.org. Be safe and stay strong.
For more information or to get involved, please contact the Diversity, Equity & Inclusion Committee.