Dear HEC Family,

We write this message to you in support of the Asian, Asian-American, and Pacific Islander (AAPI) community. In regard to the recent spa shootings in Atlanta against the AAPI community and the increase in anti-Asian hate crimes, it is especially important now that we protect and stand with our fellow community members. We stand against racial injustice, hate, and violence. We condemn any activity or speech that suggests otherwise.

As a service organization, diversity is at the heart of what we do. It is our duty, as individuals and as an organization, to speak up for what is right and advocate for greater justice. As a community, we have an opportunity to raise our individual and collective voices and to act as agents of reform and healing in response to the rise in our nation of anti-Asian violence, discrimination, and racism. If you have ideas as to how we can become more actively engaged in this present issue, we encourage you to bring those ideas forth.

What we are doing: 

The HEC 96 Board spent a lot of time reflecting on what we can do to ensure the safety of our AAPI community. The Impact & Inclusion Team has led multiple bias training sessions as well as a LARA discussion session for the HEC 96 Board and its faculty advisor. The team has also presented unconscious bias training for every department and its volunteers for HEC. Additionally, this year, HEC has implemented a statement of inclusion in its application for its Board of Directors, its volunteers, and for its guest registration. Furthermore, the Impact & Inclusion team, along with the Board of Directors, has created a suggested readings and media list to help its members and guests become more educated and involved in diversity, inclusion, and racial justice. Likewise, HEC is holding monthly panel discussions called, “We Are Here: Stories of Resilience” to allow students, professors, and alumni from marginalized backgrounds to have their voices heard using the HEC platform. Please see the Impact & Inclusion section of the HEC website for more information on what we are doing. 

What you can do:

Monitor the conversations around you. The COVID-19 virus is not connected to a specific country or group of people. Comments that suggest otherwise are harmful and place human lives at risk. This source provides helpful strategies for standing up for the AAPI community.

Speak with your peers and elders about anti-Asian racism and violence. 6% of all victims of reported anti-Asian hate crimes are under 20 years old and 7.3% are over 60 years old. Use these resources and activities to expand your understanding of how the COVID-19 virus has led to increased racism against Asian and Pacific Islander communities.

Please continue supporting Asian-American owned businesses. Recent studies show Asian-American business owners saw declines in business a full month before nationwide lockdowns began last year.

There are many Asian, Asian-American, and Pacific-Islander-owned businesses in Ithaca you can support, such as: Hai Hong Ithaca, Four Seasons, Green Castle Grocery Store, Masita, Maru Ramen, Ithaca Tofu Asian Grocery Store, Kimchi, Sushi Osaka, Ren’s Mart, Win Li Supermarket, and more. 

Continue your diversity learning journey. Please continue educating yourself about what you can do.

If you are so inclined to donate funds, please consider donating to groups led by and focused on supporting Asian immigrant women, such as Asian American Advocacy Fund, NAPAWF-Atlanta, and Asian Americans Advancing Justice Atlanta.

Most importantly, we urge you all to be there for one another. During this ongoing time of physical distance, it’s more important than ever that we stay emotionally connected and support one another. Check in on each other. Give yourselves the space to grieve. Take care of yourselves and please do not hesitate to reach out.

In Solidarity,

The HEC 96 Board of Directors