Statement from Interim President Jiménez-Sandoval regarding senseless violence against Asian Americans

California State University, Fresno sign

Dear Fresno State Campus Community,

I’m deeply troubled by the news of the senseless violence against Asian Americans in Atlanta this week. This attack transpired amidst a troubling trend that has plagued our nation, one of rising violence, discrimination, and xenophobia facing members of the Asian American and Pacific Islander community. As Fresno State is a space of learning, exploration and dialogue — a place where we celebrate our diversity — our University condemns any act of violence against Asian Americans.

Fresno State’s core principles uphold a vision according to which we see each other not only in light of our talents, contributions and work ethic, but also our humanity. We strive to educate our students to relate to one another on multiple levels, to appreciate other cultures and to oppose prejudice. We stand with our Asian American and Pacific Islander (AAPI) students, faculty, staff, alumni and community members. I wish to say to the varied and diverse individuals who comprise our Asian American communities: We appreciate your rich history and culture, we are grateful for your contributions to our country and California, and we sincerely value you as our friends, neighbors and colleagues. We acknowledge and celebrate the beauty of your families and assure you that you are not alone during these most difficult times.

As a nation, we’ve been reminded time and again of the long-standing, historic and systemic toll that racism has taken on all of us. Current events targeting Asian Americans are the most recent in a long history of suffering wrought upon these communities, and other communities of color, and they remind us of our resolve to learn from the past. To learn from history is to embrace painful lessons, in order to grasp that, in the words of Martin Luther King, Jr: “We all came in on different ships, but we’re all in the same boat now.” Now is the time to act.

Members of our campus community, including the Asian Faculty and Staff Association, have led important conversations focused on illuminating these issues throughout March. The showing of our campus community at these events gives me great hope that we will continue to engage in supportive, productive, and transformative conversations that seek to eradicate bias and racism. I encourage our entire community to seek out ways to take action, whether it be learning and listening, reporting bias incidents, or training in bystander interventions. The President’s Council on Equity, Diversity and Inclusion is offering bi-weekly Conversations That Matter, including a discussion on the current increased violence against Asian Americans, and I urge you to join a session. Additionally, please join me in attending AFSA’s final session: A Campus Conversation on Coalitions and Solidarity Building. These conversations will help us shape our campus efforts to bring us closer, in solidarity with our AAPI community.

Please consider these resources:

Let us all take care of one another.

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The College of Arts and Humanities provides a diverse student population with the communication skills, humanistic values and cultural awareness that form the foundation of scholarship. The college offers intellectual and artistic programs that engage students and faculty and the community in collaboration, dialog and discovery. These programs help preserve, illuminate and nourish the arts and humanities for the campus and for the wider community.

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