March 23, 2021
Dear UT Community,
During the past year, our nation has witnessed a spike in anti-Asian violence. This was brought into focus last week when a mass shooter in Atlanta targeted Asian women. We recognize the distress this has caused our Asian community members, and we stand with them against racism, sexism and violence. Our current moment is one for reflection, healing and action. To that end, we want to share three upcoming opportunities for us to come together as a community:
First, the UT Gender and Sexuality Center, the UT Counseling and Mental Health Center (CMHC) and the UT Center for Asian American Studies (CAAS) are partnering with Austin-area allies to host a town hall meeting this Thursday from 10 to 11 a.m. The event is dedicated to processing, healing and care, and aims to create a space where the community can collectively grieve and remember all those affected by anti-Asian racism. All are welcome to attend, and you can register here.
Second, the Longhorn Wellness Center is teaming up with CAAS to put on interactive workshops confronting anti-Asian bias. Using the BeVocal bystander intervention model, the workshop (Monday, March 29 at 1:30, repeated Tuesday, March 30 at 2 p.m.) will lead participants through the history of anti-Asian xenophobia in the U.S. as it relates to the present-day Asian American experience. This historical context will provide a foundation for attendees to practice identifying and interrupting anti-Asian bias.
Finally, Asian Voices @ UT, a program of the CMHC, meets every Tuesday through May 4 between 4:45 and 6:15 p.m. These weekly discussion groups are open to all students who identify within the broad spectrum of Asian and Asian American backgrounds, providing a safe and supportive atmosphere where students can connect and talk openly about their experiences. Please sign up on the evening before the group session to receive the Zoom link.
Anti-Asian violence is distressing and unacceptable. Here at UT, we believe that no one should live in fear of racial violence and intimidation. Instead, we celebrate the incredible contributions that our Asian, Asian American and Pacific Islander colleagues make to our shared academic life and broader society every day. Diversity and excellence are two of the university’s core values — and they go hand in hand. Our path to serving society through academic excellence is possible because we are all different. We are committed to fostering a welcoming, diverse and inclusive campus. This is a special place, one that many seek to join. For those of us who are fortunate enough to have that opportunity, it is important to know that we all belong here.
VP for Diversity and Community Engagement