Dear Highline College Community,
No person should feel they are less than or fear for their life because of their ethnicity, including our Asian Americans and Pacific Islander (AAPI) community. And, yet, despite a 7% decline in overall hate crimes, our country’s largest cities have reported a 150% increase in anti-Asian hate crimes this past year, according to California State University’s Center for the Study of Hate and Extremism.
We, as a nation, have heard many stories about xenophobia and Sinophobia. Stories of ignorance that inaccurately blame the AAPI community for the COVID-19 pandemic –– rhetoric that was often perpetuated by the former administration of our country –– and stories that are much more nefarious: An elderly Asian man shoved to the ground, an Asian woman assaulted and robbed, another Asian man’s face cut while on the subway. The stories go on and they must stop.
As the president of a college that serves a student body and community with rich diversity, I know there may be staff, faculty and students who have also experienced anti-Asian racism, whether it was in the last month or any point throughout their lives. I want you to know I see you.
I want you to also know that not only do I condemn this racism and violence, but I’d like to offer reassurance that Highline College is not a place for those beliefs or behavior.
This is why we’ve established our Bias Incident Response Team (BIRT), which is available to staff, faculty and students to report bias incidents and hate crimes. The team is responsible for monitoring, assessing and coordinating a college response to those incidents and is here for you.
Additionally, as Human Resources Director Summer Korst mentioned in a previous email, we have several support services, including our Employee Assistance Program for those who wish to speak with a mental health professional.
I’d also like to encourage our campus community to take advantage of the many learning opportunities we’ve made available through this year’s Global Community Initiative, which focuses on educating our community about the many facets of Asia.
We may not solve this complex issue overnight, but I take comfort in knowing our college always strives to implement diversity, equity and inclusion in everything we do.
Please be safe and kind.
All my best,
John R. Mosby, Ph.D.