It is hard to know what to say when tragic events occur in rapid succession and the commentary surrounding them is constantly evolving; still, we must address the recent attacks targeting people of Asian and Pacific Islander descent, and the general discrimination against these communities that has been increasing since the pandemic started. Our hearts go out to the victims of these crimes, and with their loved ones, we grieve.

On a personal level, members of the ELI staff and student body are indeed part of many Asian (American) and Pacific Islander communities. We have encountered subtle and not so subtle displays of racism to varying degrees, and the general level of concern and anxiety has been rising over the past year. Which random person on the train might start harassing me? How can I stand up for myself and others but also not put myself in harm’s way? These are daily thoughts for some of us. 

One thing we’d like to emphasize is that the Asian (American) and Pacific Islander group is diverse — different sub-groups encounter different patterns of behavior directed towards them, and on top of that, each individual’s experience is unique, too. However, the reason the collective group and its allies must stand strong together is because the adversaries are discriminating against certain people based on the color of their skin. When there is a common enemy, it makes sense to fight together. 

sandra oh at rally

photo credit:

We would like to conclude with the statement that the ELI stands with the Asian (American) and Pacific Islander communities and strongly condemns all forms of Anti-Asian hate and discrimination.

If the last year, and especially the last couple of weeks, has taught us anything, it is that there needs to be more compassion and empathy towards all peoples and groups. We hope that as we come together in beating the COVID pandemic that has reshaped our lives, that we can also come together and beat back the pandemic of racism that pervades our lives. 

Julie Matsubara

Paul Quaintance

Shane Dunkle

Ashley Merriweather

Joshua Ruddy

For anyone wishing to find out how they can help or understand more, please check out these links:

Official Campus Resource Links Sent Out on 3/18/2021 from the University of Chicago Office of the Provost:

  • Reporting Incidents of Bias – The University urges anyone who has experienced or witnessed a bias incident to report it to the Bias Education & Support Team (BEST). BEST members provide emotional and administrative support to students who are affected by bias, while ensuring that incidents are properly recorded and appropriate formal and informal resolution processes are followed. BEST members focus on student needs and ensure students who report their experiences are heard throughout the process and understand the options and resources available to them.
  • Seeking Support Deans-on-Call are available 24 hours a day, seven days a week to provide support and guidance to students during emergency situations. The Dean-on-Call intervenes to de-escalate the situation and ensure that students receive due consideration, fair treatment, and support after the incident passes. Deans-on-Call can be reached by calling the University of Chicago Police Department (UCPD) at 773.702.8181 or by texting them directly through the UChicago Safe App.
  • Working Together UChicago Inclusion Workshops aim to create a more inclusive campus climate. The workshops are already part of the College’s orientation program and can be requested by any unit. Workshops introduce practical approaches to help people develop effective communication and listening skills and learn from and appreciate each other’s differences.
  • Building Community – The Office of Multicultural Student Affairs (OMSA) creates intentionally diverse and inclusive communities, and serves as bridge building by engaging students and members of the University community of all backgrounds to ensure personal, academic, and professional growth and success.
  • Supporting Mental Health UChicago Student Wellness offers undergraduate and graduate students accessible, high-quality, and culturally sensitive mental health services. This includes virtual workshops and affinity-based support spaces for students of color, international students, LGBTQ+ students, sand other student groups. The Staff and Faculty Assistance Program offers support for University personnel.