Statement in Support of Asian, Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders

Statement in Support of Asian, Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders

In the Atlanta area on Tuesday, a gunman killed eight people in three different locations. While the investigation continues, this fact is known: Six of the people who died were Asian women. 

As a proud member of the AAPI community myself, I am horrified not only by the events of this week, but also the escalation in racially motivated vitriol and violence over the past year. My heart is full of sorrow and anger at the brutality inflicted on our Asian sisters, brothers, and loved ones. Racially motivated harassment and violence cannot and should not be ignored.

I also must admit, it’s hard for me to speak about this publicly. Over my many years in Norman, Oklahoma; New Haven, Connecticut; New York City; and now Los Angeles, I have countless stories of racially and socio-economically biased things that have happened to me and my family. I know many of you do as well. How do I make an institutional statement about actions that directly relate to a lifetime of pain I have experienced growing up in the United States, without reviving the trauma?

I also know that I have taken strength from the support that I have received from those who have also felt the sting of “otherness” burn through their self-esteem. It’s important that I remember that in these trying moments, and channel that into my own work at the Institute.

Thus, I pledge that in the face of the instances of violence that continue to rise around this nation against Asian, Asian American, and Pacific Islander communities, CalArts will do our best as an Institute to stand in solidarity with them. As a community, we denounce hate in all its forms and are committed to using our collective voice to exemplify values of social justice in all ways we can. In the face of the events of this week, we should all renew our commitment to arresting patterns of inequity by amplifying Asian voices.

Please know that I also find renewed hope when I see our shared values of empathy, inclusivity, persistence, and social justice demonstrated in the CalArts community. While there is much work to be done here at CalArts, in this country, and in the world at large, we should all continue to use our strengths as artists to be allies for positive change.

— CalArts President Ravi Rajan