We, the Department of Modern and Classical Languages, Literatures, and Cultures at the University of Kentucky, condemn the hateful violence committed in Atlanta on March 16, 2021. We stand in solidarity with the families of Soon Chung Park, Hyun Jung Grant, Suncha Kim, Yong Ae Yue, Delaina Ashley Yaun, Daoyou Feng, Xiaojie Tan, Paul Andre Michels who were murdered and Elcias R. Hernandez-Ortiz who was seriously injured by these horrific attacks. We also stand in solidarity with the countless others who have been subjected to anti-Asian hate, which has risen to record numbers this past year. We bear witness to their pain and their fear, the same pain and fear felt by many of our own faculty and students. Above all, we acknowledge that these attacks are the result of institutional structures that have allowed racism to proliferate in our country for far too long.
We condemn the misinformation and hateful rhetoric from some politicians and media outlets which has fueled anti-Asian sentiments, and which has directly led to the stark increase in verbal and physical assaults against Asian American and Pacific Islander (AAPI) communities in the U.S. since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic (close to 3800 incidents reported by Stop AAPI Hate).
We condemn the attempts to paint this violent act as not racially motivated. Violence towards Asians and Asian Americans has a long history in the United States and erasing this history only deepens the pain felt by those who experience it. This holds true for all victims of racial violence and hate crimes. We must acknowledge the cause in order to bring about justice and change. Moreover, we condemn the treatment of Asians, women, and any other communities as a monolith.
We as a nation must do better. As educators of world languages and cultures, the members of our department strive to celebrate the diversity of Asian languages and cultures from around the world. We recognize the need for more education on the history of anti-Asian racism and plan to expand our course offerings to meet these goals. We endeavor to seek new ways for our department to support our Asian, Asian American, and Pacific Islander communities in Kentucky and build relationships between the university and members of the public.
To our fellow faculty, students, and friends in the AAPI communities: we are in this fight together.
The following links are provided if you would like to support those directly affected by the attacks in Atlanta (vetted by professor L. Cagle in the UK Department of Writing, Rhetoric, and Digital Studies):
- Financial support for Hyun Jung Kim's sons' living expenses and funeral costs, arranged by her son
- Fundraiser to cover Xiao Zhen Xie's medical expenses, arranged by her grandson
- Fundraiser to cover Elcias Hernandez Ortiz’s medical bills, arranged by his wife
- A general support fund for AAPI organizations, with donations distributed across organizations, arranged by GoFundMe
- Financial support to provide AAPI journalists with mental health resources, arranged by freelance journalist Sonia Weiser