Photo courtesy of Shannon Stapleton at Reuters
Protesters hold placards during a 'Stop Asian Hate' rally in Atlanta, Georgia, on March 20, days after deadly shootings at three local spas.
On behalf of the School of Social Work, I join the University Community and the nation in mourning the victims of last week’s shooting in Atlanta. Although still under investigation, these shootings appear to be a part of a larger and growing increase in violence and discrimination against our country’s Asian American and Pacific Islander communities.
These despicable acts of racism, violence and intimidation are reprehensible and are not tolerated in any form here in the School of Social Work. We must condemn not only the acts of violence, but also the discrimination, stereotyping and microaggressions against Asians and Pacific Islanders.
Unfortunately, hate and discrimination against the Asian community has persisted for hundreds of years in our country dating back to the early 19th century. The recent resurgence of Anti-Asian racism and violence has been directly linked to the increase in rhetoric from some elected leaders and others attempting to falsely blame and mislabel COVID-19 on the Asian community.
As I said last summer following the protest against police brutality and racism, we recognize the pain, fear, anger and sense of hopelessness students, alumni and many in our SSW community and family are experiencing right now and every day. As Social Workers, we are in a position to demand and influence change. We must stand strongly against racism, hatred, bigotry and all forms of injustice.
UTA and the School of Social Work’s Asian, Asian American and Pacific Islander communities are part of our strength in diversity and inclusion. As I’ve stated in previous messages about racism, discrimination and xenophobia, these acts of violence are horrific and should not be tolerated anywhere.
As a reminder per NASW's Code of Ethics, Social Workers should “not practice, condone, facilitate, or collaborate with any form of discrimination on the basis of race, ethnicity, national origin, color, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, age, marital status, political belief, religion, immigration status, or mental or physical ability.”
Many of our faculty, through their research and analysis of policy practices, are seeking solutions to dismantling oppressive and discriminating systems targeted toward the Asian community and other marginalized and disadvantaged communities.
Non-profit organizations such as Stop AAPI Hate collect information on anti-Asian hate incidents and provide resources for people who want to get involved and advocate ending racism against Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders.
As we move forward, our responsibility is to practice compassionate Social Work and to remain committed to academic scholarship, discovery, research and education in the classroom, and in our personal and professional lives.
After traumatic events students find it helpful to speak with a counselor. Students can contact the UTA Counseling and Psychological Services (CAPS) office for an appointment at 817-272-2771 or call MAVS Talk 24 Hour Crisis Line at 817-272-TALK (8255). Telehealth options are available. In addition, the UTA Multicultural Affairs office offers resources, events, information and opportunities to get involved.
We stand in solidarity with our Asian, Asian American and Pacific Islander students, faculty, staff, alumni and with the wider community.
Scott D. Ryan
Dean and Professor
School of Social Work
The University of Texas at Arlington