As a community, it is our collective imperative to conduct the antiracist work necessary to eliminate racist rhetoric and violence.
Stop AAPI Hate
March 30, 2021
It is alarming to see the exponential increase in anti-Asian assaults that have occurred in the United States since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic. Across the country, Asian Americans & Pacific Islanders are being harassed and attacked in a surge of racist violence and rhetoric. A majority of these incidents have targeted women. Students of Asian origin have endured racist taunts in schools, strangers have violently attacked Asian pedestrians, and, in some cases, have died from their injuries.
Alarmed by a surge in hate crimes, Stop AAPI Hate began collecting reports about anti-AAPI attacks on March 19, 2020. From that day until December 31, 2020, Stop AAPI Hate received over 2,808 firsthand accounts of anti-AAPI verbal or physical assaults from 47 states and the District of Columbia. As of February 28, 2021, Stop AAPI Hate had received reports of 3,795 incidents.
While anti-Asian racism has recently been highlighted in the news, it has been a recurrent part of U.S. history. In a February 2021 New York Times editorial, the author and lawyer Qian Julie Wang narrates 150 years of U.S. racism directed toward people of Asian ancestry.
As a community, it is our collective imperative to conduct the antiracist work necessary to eliminate racist rhetoric and violence. We stand in solidarity with the Asian community.
Black Lives Matter
June 22, 2020
As March grew into April, we faced a pandemic that few anticipated and no one was prepared for. We had no idea how deeply this would shake our humanity beyond the also unexpected impact on the world’s economy. Now as the virus swells infection rates in South America, the disadvantaged are hardest hit, and the lack of leadership at the highest levels deepens both the impact and the hopelessness that too many of us are feeling. It would be terrible enough if this was only lack of leadership but some of our very leaders are clearly focused on political gain instead of their responsibilities to serve the people. This combined effect—the intersectionality—of a pandemic that hits hardest those who are least prepared, and the overt, chronic, endemic racism that has again boiled to the surface in the USA (and elsewhere), shakes us and this country to the core. This is the moment for change, both radical and permanent, if we can muster the will needed for such change in society and change in leadership. I am encouraged by the responses and clarity of our students and others, and feel optimistic that change will come. Never has the depth and pervasiveness of this societal cancer that is racism and inequality been clearer.
Here at Harvard, we face our own issues of inequality, with regards to race and, painfully, to the power dynamics of sexual harassment. We should not underestimate the perniciousness of the protection of the status quo. We must do better, we must be better.
The following is a joint statement from the Carr Center for Human Rights Policy, FXB Center for Health and Human Rights at Harvard University, Hutchins Center for African & African American Research, the International Human Rights Clinic at Harvard Law School, the Charles Hamilton Houston Institute for Race & Justice at Harvard Law School, the Edmond J. Safra Center for Ethics, Harvard Center for Population and Development Studies, Harvard Law School Criminal Justice Institute, William Monroe Trotter Collaborative for Social Justice, Center for Public Leadership at Harvard Kennedy School, Harvard University Center for African Studies, David Rockefeller Center for Latin American Studies, and the Weatherhead Center for International Affairs.
“We strongly condemn the Minneapolis Police Department’s vicious and brutal murder of George Floyd. This and other recent events highlight the lethal impact of the racist criminalization of Americans of African descent and the need to explicitly name and unequivocally fight against the racism and violence that has been woven into the fabric of the United States since its founding.
It is understandable that this longstanding, flagrant disregard for the human rights of African Americans has led to outrage across the country. We call on law enforcement officers responding to demonstrations to exercise utmost restraint and work closely with community leaders to avoid escalating the situation further.
The murders of African Americans at the hands of police and vigilantes must stop and perpetrators must be charged and brought to justice. As research centers at Harvard University committed to human rights, we affirm the values of racial equity, justice, and non-violence. For the future of the United States, our public leaders must urgently do the same.”