Dean's Statement on Justice for Asian American Lives
March 23, 2021
College of Arts and Humanities
"Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere. We are caught in an inescapable network of mutuality, tied in a single garment of destiny. Whatever affects one directly, affects all indirectly."
—"Letter from Birmingham Jail," April 16, 1963, Martin Luther King Jr.
Dear ARHU Community,
The March 19, 2021 Washington Post opinion article on anti-Asian violence written by our colleague Janelle Wong, Professor of American Studies and Government and Politics and faculty member in the Asian American Studies program along with Viet Thanh Nguyen, award-winning author and former Arts and Humanities Dean’s Lecture series guest, brought this Martin Luther King Jr. quote to mind.
The rise in attacks on Asian Americans during the pandemic, culminating with the recent murders in Atlanta are a terrible reminder of the exclusion and discrimination people of Asian descent have faced throughout U.S. history. It highlights how stereotypes and ignorance may recede briefly, only to reemerge with demagogic calls and dog-whistles invoking white supremacy. Until our nation addresses its history of denying the rights and privileges of democracy to people of color, we will likely see this pattern continue. I write to publicly condemn these recent killings and other acts of hatred and disdain, extend deepest sympathies to the Asian American families and communities who are threatened, and invite our entire community to recommit to the work of creating a more just and inclusive “garment of destiny” for our society.
The ARHU community of students, scholars and staff in its Campaign on Race, Equity and Justice, continues to bring attention to these issues through our research, curriculum and programming. Also, visit President Pine’s website for information and a list of resources and support for members of our community. In addition to social media posts, statements and words of care and condolence, we must continue to act. Participate when and where you can, and use these resources as inspiration for action.
Bonnie Thornton Dill
Dean & Professor
College of Arts & Humanities, University of Maryland