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Statement on Anti-Asian Violence

Statement on Anti-Asian Violence and the San Diego Unified School District Commitment to Justice and Anti-Racism in our Schools and Communities
Posted on 03/20/2021

By Ethnic Studies Advisory Committee (ESAC) in collaboration with San Diego Unified School District

We in San Diego Unified School District are heartbroken, outraged, and frustrated at the deadly violence that occurred in Atlanta, Georgia on March 16, 2021. We mourn the victims of this attack--including Xiaojie Tan, Delaina Ashley Yaun Gonzalez, Daoyou Feng, Paul Andre Michels, Julia Park, and Hyun-jeong Park Grant--and offer our heartfelt condolences not just to their families and community, but to the broader Asian, Asian-American, Pacific Islander and Desi (AAPI) community as well, especially our AAPI community here in San Diego. Unequivocally, this event was a hate crime, whose effects reverberate outward. We recognize the emotional toll this has on our local AAPI students, educators, and community, and that this tragic event was part of a larger trend of anti-Asian xenophobia, violence, and racism that has surged of late, including in San Diego. Regrettably, these patterns are not new. 

We know, acknowledge, and name the reality that racism against AAPI communities has persisted in traumatic events, both large and small, for centuries of our national and local history. From the Chinese Exclusion Act of 1882, to instances of racist, abusive language surrounding COVID-19, every act of bias, hate, and violence are driven by the same structural roots and issues that have gone unresolved for far too long. Moreover, these events are not, and can not be disconnected from the anti-Black, anti-Latina/o, anti-LGBTQIA+, anti-Semitic, and anti-immigrant violence and rhetoric that are now all too prevalent. These are all part of the same, larger patterns and trends of xenophobia and racism that we face as a community and nation. Our lives and stories, though diverse and complex, are interconnected. We can only be fully human by recognizing one another’s full humanity. 

As educators, we believe that education can help to ameliorate these issues. It was through activism driven by Asian-American students that the field of Ethnic Studies emerged in the late 1960’s. Those AAPI activists believed that a critical Ethnic Studies education allows us space to center the stories, histories, and experiences of marginalized communities, and examine the ways in which power and systems have shaped how we see one another, was a powerful road map towards ending racism and xenophobia. In San Diego Unified School District, we are committed to advancing Ethnic Studies for all students towards these same ends; through understanding our shared humanity and interconnectedness, and the diversity and complexity of our divergent histories, experiences, and cultures, we can lay a foundation for our students to lead us into the future as the first truly anti-racist generation.

Once again, to our Asian, Asian-American, Pacific Islander, and Desi community; we see you, we hear you, we feel for you, we acknowledge you, and we recognize that the events of March 16th impact the entire AAPI community, and were not isolated events. As we continue to mourn, we as a district are committed to stand in solidarity with and support our AAPI community and all marginalized communities, and to contesting and speaking out against racism and hate in all of its forms.