Department of Central American and Transborder Studies
The Department of Central American and Transborder Studies in Solidarity with the Asian Communities
Message from the Asian American Studies Department on Anti-Asian Violence
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 objectsand 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.
The Department of Central American and Transborder Studies Stands in Solidarity with Black Lives Matter
The Department of Central American and Transborder Studies at CSUN stands in solidarity with our Black brothers and sisters, many of whom are members of our community, who are the target of senseless acts of police violence and are affected by institutional forms of exclusion and exploitation. We also stand in solidarity with the Black and Indigenous communities in Central America and from Central America who have endured centuries of racism and discrimination.
The senseless murder of George Floyd was not a separate event but one more in a long list of acts of brutality committed for centuries by authorities against Black, Brown, American Indian, and Indigenous peoples, as well as diverse communities of immigrants that are an integral part of the fabric of this nation, and yet, do not enjoy equality, do not have the ability to fulfill their basic rights, do not have access to justice. We are moved by the multiple expressions of collective solidarity, despair, and outrage that have filled the streets of this country and the world, and we continue to believe that another world, a more just world, is possible.
We affirm that Black lives matter, that we need to build a more fair world together, and that education is key to fight colonialism and racism, to learn more about each other, and to further solidarity and mutuality between our different communities. We invite our students, alumni, faculty, and staff, and all the communities that support each of us to stand against White supremacy, to speak out against the senseless killing of Black men and women, to stand against the separation of families, the mistreatment of immigrants, the militarization of our communities, our cities, and the border.
The Department of Central American Studies has a tri-fold mission: to empower the large and growing Central American community in the United States by promoting academic excellence, community involvement, and cultural diversity; to open spaces of global citizenship and dialogue between academia and society that contribute to the construction of a Central American transnational identity; and to promote an understanding and appreciation of the diverse Central American cultures, ethnicities, experiences, and worldviews from an interdisciplinary global perspective.