We feel sorrow for the violent deaths of the Asian American women in Atlanta last week and the pattern of escalating violence against Asian Americans, especially since the COVID-19 pandemic began. Interim Associate Dean Sergio La Porta and I ask that you join us in condemning this epidemic of violence against those of Asian heritage.
We would also like to thank Dr. Samina Najmi for sharing the powerful statement issued by the Circle for Asian American Literary Studies.
Interim President Jiménez-Sandoval sent a call to action to you on Friday, providing resources available to staff, faculty and students. I would humbly add to his eloquent message that our College plays a special role in furthering our students’ and broader community’s understanding of Asian American culture in various ways. Each year, hundreds of students take Chinese, Hmong and Japanese courses in the Department of Linguistics, thereby increasing their knowledge of the cultures and experiences of Chinese Americans, Japanese Americans and Hmong Americans. The Hmong program arranges excellent lectures throughout the year on a wide variety of topics about the Hmong community in the Valley and beyond, allowing everyone to share ideas.
Moreover, the Department of English offers courses in Asian American literature as well as world literature in translation. Giving a voice to emerging Hmong literature, the MFA in Creative Writing program recently launched “Hmong American Ink and Stories – HAIS,” a literary journal, as well as an ongoing storyteller series this spring.
The Department of Art and Design offers Art History courses on Asian art, and our College is also home to the Philosophy Department’s Religious Studies program, which offers coursework in Asian religions.
Encouraging our students to explore these courses and Asian American Studies in the College of Social Sciences would benefit them intellectually and increase their empathy towards Asian Americans and understanding of themselves.
We would like to invite our faculty, students and the campus community to celebrate and learn more about Asian culture at the following upcoming events.
- Noon Tuesday, March 23 | Mindfulness and Teaching with Dr. Veena Howard.
- 11 a.m. Monday, April 26 | Celestial Palaces and Cosmic Mountains: Ancient Khmer Temple Architecture with Dr. Saam Noonsuck.
- 7 p.m. Monday, May 3 | The Hindu God Vishnu in the Art and Politics of Early Southeast Asia with Dr. Saam Noonsuck.
In times of increased violence and unrest, we must promote the gifts of the arts and humanities, as this is how we can create a more humane and peaceful future.
Please take care of yourselves and each other,