Asian Americans are the fastest-growing major racial or ethnic group in the United States. More than 20 million Asians live in the U.S., and almost all trace their roots to 19 origin groups from East Asia, Southeast Asia and the Indian subcontinent.PEW RESEARCH CENTER ANALYSIS OF U.S. CENSUS BUREAU DATA
As a result of Asian Americans being blamed for the COVID-19 pandemic, our country has experienced an increase in the number of Asian and Asian Americans facing racism and discrimination.
Throughout the past year and, notably, over the past few weeks, we’ve seen a rise in anti-Asian racism, xenophobia and bias-motivated violence.
Stop AAPI Hate, the nation’s leading aggregator of COVID-19-related hate incidents against Asian Americans, has recorded more than 3,795 incidents of racism and discrimination targeting Asian Americans nationwide between March 2020 and February 2021.
Many face multiple types of discrimination including verbal harassment (68.1%) and shunning (20.5%), which is the deliberate avoidance of Asian Americans. Others have experienced physical assault (11.1%) and online harassment (6.8%) as well. Women have reported hate incidents 2.3 times more than men.
In the same time frame, 32 incidents of hate in Georgia were reported. More recently, on March 16 a series of mass shootings took place at three spas in the Atlanta area. Eight people were killed, six of whom were Asian American women.
At Mercer University, we are committed to building an inclusive community where people of all backgrounds are valued and respected and have the opportunity to learn and contribute to our mission. We affirm and respect the dignity and sacred worth of every person and celebrate both our commonalities and our differences. We are committed to being an intimate and diverse community of gifted scholars committed to changing the world and creating a global university.
As of fall 2020, our Asian student population was close to 9%, and we have four student organizations on the undergraduate campus representing the Asian community. Those organizations are the Mercer Asian Society and Interest Association (Mercer ASIA), Mercer Masala: A South Asian and Middle Eastern Collaborative, Mercer University Korean Undergraduate Student Association (KUSA), and Mercer Vietnamese Student Association.
The Office of Diversity and Inclusion Initiatives stands in solidarity with the Asian, Asian American and Pacific Islander American community. There is much we can do to combat racism. I urge us to come together and support all members of our community.
To learn more about anti-Asian hate, watch, read and listen to:
- PBS’s “Asian Americans” series
- NPR’s Code Switch podcast episode, “Descendants Of Chinese Laborers Reclaim Railroad’s History”
- KQED radio’s story, “After Atlanta Killings, America Grapples With Misogyny and Racism”
Mercer’s Counseling and Psychological Services offers the following resources:
- Asian, Pacific Islander, and South Asian American Therapist Directory
- National Suicide Prevention Lifeline; call (800) 273-TALK or (877) 990-8585 for Asian languages
- Asian Americans Advancing Justice
- Stop AAPI Hate
- National Asian Pacific American Women’s Forum; NAPAWF-Atlanta
- Asian Mental Health Professionals of Georgia
- Georgia Crisis and Access Line; call (800) 715-4225
- Peer2Peer Warm Line; call (888) 945-1414
- Asian American Psychological Association
- Asian Mental Health Collective
- Anxiety and Depression Association of American – Asian Americans/Pacific Islanders
- Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration – Asian American, Native Hawaiian, and Pacific Islander