March 13, 2020 at 2:01 p.m.

Addressing anti-Asian racism; future community dialogues

Dear CSSW Community,

I want to join Dean Begg in saying “thank you” to those who were able to join our virtual Community Dialogue on Wednesday. As Dean Begg shared yesterday, we will be hosting more of these discussions throughout the semester.

In addition to expressing how the COVID-19 virus is impacting you directly and indirectly, your anger, frustration, fear and anxiety also was quite palpable. I sincerely appreciated seeing the outpouring of empathy and support from our community – particularly for our Asian-identified students, faculty and staff.

Your feedback and contributions, combined with subsequent conversations with Asian-identified students and colleagues, made the following more clear:

  • We must name and acknowledge the anti-Asian racism that has become more pervasive on our campus, throughout the city, and in our national and global communities.
  • This racism is negatively affecting the mental and physical health of Asian-identified members of our community. The resulting anxiety, anger, fear, headaches, insomnia are all real.
  • We must support each other through this difficult time and seek support to help manage all of those feelings. Please tap into your social networks – via texting, phone calls, Facetime, WhatsApp, WeChat, Zoom, etc. There are many ways to reach out to classmates, friends, and administrators for support.
  • For non-Asian identified people, we must be even more self-aware and mindful of our generalizations and assumptions about Asian people. We need to educate ourselves and continue to rely on accurate information from our public health experts, who are clear that this virus does not discriminate or target members of one racial or ethnic group. And, we have an even greater responsibility to show empathy and care to all in our community.
  • We need to respond as a community, and use this as an opportunity to explore and challenge our own biases, our processes, and our engagement in difficult dialogues about racism – particularly when it is targeted against a particular racial group.

To that end, below are articles and resources that have been shared by various CSSW community members that we hope will help us become more educated, self-aware, and empathetic. This is a “living” collection, which will be placed online soon, and suggestions are welcomed.

As previously noted, we are planning upcoming events and supportive spaces to continue our community dialogues. Details are forthcoming. I look forward to seeing many of you at these events, and also hope to hear from you about ways we can continue to address racism across our communities.

In solidarity,


Stigma and Resilience

Resources for Addressing Coronavirus Racism (Jason Chang, University of Connecticut)

Bystander/Upstander training

“On Social Media, Racist Responses To Coronavirus Can Have Their Own Contagion”

“Stop Using The Coronavirus As An Excuse To Be Racist”

Dismantling Racism Resources