Standing Up Against Asian Violence and Discrimination

Dear Danforth Center Community,

The shootings that targeted predominantly individuals with Asian ancestry in Atlanta this week, resulting in eight deaths, were horrifying beyond words. These shootings are among the latest in a deeply disturbing trend of hateful, terrorizing and deadly acts with racial, anti-Asian motivations. The appalling escalation of violence and discrimination against Asian individuals and communities across the U.S. is condemned here in the strongest terms. I want to state clearly my strong commitment, and that of the Danforth Center, to stand proudly in alliance with our Asian and Asian American colleagues at the Center and across the nation.

The rise in anti-Asian violence and discrimination is painful to see and difficult to comprehend. But we should have no difficulty understanding that the targeted communities are under tremendous stress as a result. Nearly one-quarter of the Danforth Center community identifies as Asian, or Asian American or Pacific Islander (AAPI). Our values, especially our commitment to diversity and inclusion and to integrity and respect, compel us to raise our voices and act in support of these vital colleagues. I reached out to some of these individuals to better understand what they are feeling today.

One said, “I think it’s fair to say that the (AAPI) community is right to be worried that anti-Asian sentiment is leading them to be violently targeted. These events are a reminder that we must be vigilant when discussing groups of people, to be mindful about...unfairly attributing certain qualities upon them in a blanket manner.”

Another said, “We came to this country for better education and better life. We have seen many cases of misled hate-violence targeting Asian faces across the country. Every time...I felt truly angry and deeply sad. The recent tragedy that happened in Atlanta may happen again somewhere else, if people keep their eyes shut and pretend to be incapable to change. Such senseless acts of violence left Asian communities devastated, and many paralyzed with fear.”

Another community member indicated that emotions are too high and feelings too raw to share now. What I am hearing and feeling from our Asian and AAPI colleagues is real frustration, anger, fear, pain and sadness. And when one part of the community suffers, we all suffer.

I ask that everyone find ways to help lift up our colleagues who might benefit from your support during these troubled times. Those could be things as simple as having conversations to learn about a co-worker’s experiences, or attending an event like the StopAsianHate vigil (March 20, 7:00 pm) with some of our Asian and AAPI colleagues. Let’s take care of one another! For those in need, our Employee Assistance Program with professional counselors is available, any time of any day.

Jim Carrington, President and Chief Executive Officer