May 5, 2021
We, the faculty of Asian American Studies at California State University Northridge, are sickened and enraged about the mass shootings that occurred in Georgia on March 16, 2021. We grieve with the families and communities of the eight people killed in Acworth and Atlanta. Of the 8 individuals who were killed, 6 were Asian immigrant women. These women – Daoyou Feng 冯道友, 44; Hyun Jung Kim (Grant) 김현정, 51; Suncha Kim 김선자, 69; Soon Park 박순정, 74; Xiaojie Tan 谭小洁, 49; and Yong Ae Yue 유영애, 63–were mothers, grandmothers, sisters, aunties, wives, friends and community members of the Atlanta metro area. Their hopes and dreams were tragically cut short while they were working to make a better life for their families. We are troubled by the responses of law enforcement–those who are supposed to serve and protect–quickly dismissing the event as racially motivated, surmising that the shooter was “having a bad day.”
What happened in the Atlanta metro area was one example of the many attacks on our communities and reflects the escalation of anti-Asian violence in the U.S. since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic. Nearly 3,800 hate incidents against Asian Americans have been reported across the country since March 2020 according to Stop AAPI Hate — the nation’s leading coalition documenting and addressing anti-Asian hate and discrimination. Unfortunately, there is a long history of violence against Asian Americans. Asian Americans have been used as scapegoats for larger systematic failures in times of crisis-economic downturns, wars, and most recently the pandemic. Throughout history, stereotypes of Asians as forever foreigners, model minorities, spreaders of illness and disease, exoticized sexual objects and labor competition have been used to perpetuate hate, violence, exclusion and marginalization while also effectively pitting our communities against other communities in struggle. While all Asian Americans are not immune to anti-Asian violence, immigrant, working-class, elderly, trans, queer and female identified Asian Americans have been especially vulnerable. Two out of three reports of hate incidents targeting Asian Americans have been women. Instead of scapegoating Asian Americans, we need to dismantle and re-imagine the dominant values, policies and institutional structures that directly contribute to everyday acts of violence as well as state-sanctioned ones.
We ask our campus community to stand in solidarity with the Asian American Studies Department not just through heartfelt words but through action and policy. Our teaching, research, scholarship and advocacy centers the lived experiences of Asian America, Pacific Islander, and Desi Americans (APIDA) providing critical counter narratives to the dehumanizing images of Asians as exotic, deviant, inferior “other”, model minority, yellow peril or invisible. The Asian American, Pacific Islander, and Desi American communities encompass over thirty-five ethnic groups with diverse immigration experiences and traverse the entire economic spectrum. Our work with students and communities is multi-ethnic, multilingual, immeasurable and oftentimes unseen. To be sustainable, this work requires institutional support that makes visible Asian American and Pacific Islander experiences, not just today, but regularly and always. We ask for a campus commitment to provide tangible sustained support to increase AAS faculty and staff capacity so we can better serve our students, document our histories and strengthen our relations with community-based partners who are on the frontlines in helping the most vulnerable members of our community. We also ask the campus leadership to direct concrete resources to continue the solidarity work between Asian American Studies, Chicana/o/x Studies, Africana Studies, American Indian Studies, Central American Studies, Gender & Women Studies, Queer Studies and allies in addressing the interconnected systems of racism, imperialism, colonialism, misogyny, and institutionalized class inequality. Asian American Studies has an important role in discussions of anti-Asian hate and social justice, as we prepare our students and future teachers to be leaders in an interconnected and complex world. There is so much more we can do when we work together.
CSUN Asian American Studies Resources
We invite students to learn about the histories, experiences, contemporary issues, and critical thinking tools to understand the full humanity of Asian American, Pacific Islander, and Desi American experiences. We have many classes-Intro to Asian American Studies; Approaches to University Writing; Race, Racism Critical thinking; Asian American History; Asian Americans in the Media; Contemporary issues; Asian American politics and the law; Asian American Literature; Asian American Women and more.
CSUN Student Resources
Asian American Studies Pathways Project (AASPP)
Peer mentorship to AAPI students
Glenn Omatsu House (formerly the Asian House)
The Glenn Omatsu House named after our beloved EOP and AAS Professor, and pioneer of the field of Asian American Studies, the Glenn Omatsu House is a department, student, campus and community center. The Omatsu House serves as a meeting place for AAS clubs and organizations, as well as a study-center for student groups. Hopefully it will be operational soon!
Off campus Asian Anti-Violence Resources
Off campus resources that have been gathered to help individuals educate others, take action, donate, and more.can be found here.