February 26, 2021 at 12:18 p.m.

Statement on Anti-Asian racism and attacks

Dear CSSW Community,

This week, California lawmakers passed legislation to allocate $1.4 million for tracking anti-Asian hate incidents. This is in response to the recent increase in violence against Asian and Asian-American people across the U.S.

In the past couple of weeks, we’ve watched in dismay as elderly Asians have become victims of a spate of attacks, with at least one person, 84-year-old Vicha Ratanapakdee, dying of his injuries. In New York City, there were four anti-Asian hate incidents reported last week. We are witnessing an overall increase in anti-Asian racism, and saw a similar spike in violence a year ago, in the wake of distorted narratives about the origins of the coronavirus.

But this trend of anti-Asian xenophobia is not new. In the U.S., this sentiment can be traced as far back as the 1800s, with the concept of “yellow peril,” the Chinese Exclusion Act of 1882, and Japanese internment camps – all a response to years of racial hostility from white Americans who viewed Asian immigrants as a national threat.

The recent resurgence of anti-Asian racism is alarming. Stop AAPI Hate, one of the nation’s leading organizations documenting and reporting anti-Asian bias during the COVID-19 pandemic, recently released a report indicating that between March 19, 2020 and December 31, 2020, there were nearly 3,000 reported firsthand accounts of anti-Asian hate from 47 states and the District of Columbia. And 126 of those accounts of anti-Asian hate involved Asian Americans over 60 years old.

We have to acknowledge this hate, heighten our awareness about these continued acts of racism, and support and stand in solidarity with Asian and Pacific Islander members of our community. Below are some resources we hope you’ll find helpful as we confront this menace of hate and seek to support those impacted the most by these incidents.

In community,

Melissa Begg

Dean & Professor

Karma Lowe

Associate Dean

Diversity, Equity & Inclusion, and Community Engagement


  • Exploration of Asian Racial/Ethnic Identity During COVID-19 | Thursdays @ 2:00 p.m. EST

    This is an interactive virtual space for Columbia students to engage in exploration of their racial/ethnic identity as Asian Americans or Asian internationals, with the backdrop of the current pandemic in mind. The virtual space will comprise seven weekly sessions with focus on providing relevant information and discussion as well as pragmatic ways to respond and disarm racial discrimination. Due to the open and online nature of this drop-in group, this group is not private or confidential though participants are encouraged to be respectful and mindful of each other and to practice discretion. In addition, please note that this is an interactive support space and not group therapy. This virtual space will be held on Thursdays from 2:00 p.m. to 3:00 p.m. EST.

    For more information, please email facilitators Dr. Weiyen Chung at wc2714@cumc.columbia.edu or Wardeh Hattab, LCSW at wch2119@cumc.columbia.edu with “Asian Identity” in the subject line. Additional details, including weekly session topics can be found here.

  • Hollaback! Bystander Intervention Resources can be found here.
  • AAJC Facts, Reporting, Trainings & Community Resources can be found here.
  • Asian Mental Health Collective | Mental Health Resources for API communities can be found here.
  • NYC Office for the Prevention of Hate Crimes | COVID-19-related Anti-Bias Education Resource Guide can be found here. COVID-19 related hate and bias Incidents fact sheet and reporting in Arabic, Urdu, Korean, Bengali, Yiddish, Vietnamese, Japanese, Chinese, and more can be found here.