We, the presidents of the Atlanta University Center Consortium institutions (Clark Atlanta University, Morehouse College, Morehouse School of Medicine, and Spelman College) condemn this latest display of anti-Asian violence that took the lives of valued members of the Atlanta community. We take this opportunity to extend our heartfelt sympathy to the families forced to endure the pain of the violent loss of their loved ones (Xiaojie Tan, Daoyou Feng, Yong A. Yue, Suncha Kim, Delaina Yaun, Soon C. Park, Hyun Jung Grant, and Paul Andre Michels).
Here, at the heartbeat of the struggle for civil and human rights, we have suffered another violent, depraved, racist act targeting people of color—this time Asian Americans. This atrocity highlights growing anti-Asian sentiment and violence that has been fueled since the beginning of the global pandemic. A Pew Research study (July, 2020*) indicates that both Black and Asian Americans are more likely than their white and Hispanic counterparts to say they have been subject to slurs or jokes because of their race or ethnicity. But Asian adults are the most likely to say this has happened to them since the beginning of the coronavirus outbreak. About three in 10 Asian adults (31%) say they have been subject to slurs or jokes because of their race or ethnicity since the outbreak began, compared with 21% of Black adults, 15% of Hispanic adults and 8% of white adults. This aligns with some reports of incidents of discrimination against Asian Americans since the virus outbreak first emerged in China and then started spreading in the United States.
Violence targeting racial and ethnic minorities is nothing new in Georgia or in the United States. However, there is an unrecognized and suppressed story of a long history of violence against Asians in this country. The lynching of early Chinese immigrants in the Pacific West, enacting legislation such as the Chinese Exclusion Act, the internment camps for Japanese Americans during WWII, and the beating murder of Vincent Chin are parts of a story that deserves greater visibility and attention. Unfortunately, we must now add this most recent headline to the history of our continuing inability to see the oneness of humanity.
The Atlanta University Center Consortium community stands with kindred spirit in solidarity with our Asian brothers and sisters. The very existence of Clark Atlanta University, Morehouse College, Morehouse School of Medicine, and Spelman College recognizes that education can illuminate the path to justice and dignity and demand that they are available to all persons. As always, we remain united in our call for social justice and continue to strongly support the desire to impact the change our country needs.
George French, Ph.D.
President, Clark Atlanta University
David Thomas, Ph.D.
President, Morehouse College
Valerie Montgomery Rice, MD, FACOG
President, Morehouse School of Medicine
Mary Schmidt Campbell, Ph.D.
President, Spelman College
*Pew Research Center, July 2020, “Many Black and Asian Americans Say They Have Experienced Discrimination Amid the COVID-19 Outbreak”