A joint statement of support for the Asian community

Letter to the Editor

To the Case Western Reserve Community,

We write today in response to the increasing frequency of violent attacks against Asian people in the United States and to express our unequivocal support for Asian community members both at CWRU and in Greater Cleveland.

As you may be aware, since the beginning of the spread of the SARS-CoV-2 virus and the worldwide pandemic, the number of attacks against Asian people based solely on their appearance has increased exponentially. (Research also shows identity-based attacks against Asians are not new and usually go significantly underreported.) In some regions of our country, the increase in anti-Asian crime is nearly 2,000%. In other regions, as one community member explained, “Our seniors are afraid to walk their own streets. Many of these attacks appear unprovokedincreasingly aggressive and exceedingly violent. Members of our own university community have been victims of these personal attacks. 

The use of hateful terms like “China flu” and “kung flu” has not abated, even with the administration change in Washington, D.C. These slurs make people who appear to be of Asian descent vulnerable to crimes. Children are not immune either. Asian American students have reported taunting, bullying and physical attacks in schools.

We state first, and unequivocally, that we condemn these acts of violence and hatred in the strongest of terms. The criminal behavior targeting Asians cannot be tolerated in a civil society, nor will it be tolerated on our campus.

To our Asian community members who have experienced hateful acts such as these, we want you to know we hear you, we see you, we believe you and we support you. You are CWRU family members and always welcome here. As a university, we stand by our core values of true diversity and true inclusion. You are valued, integral members of our community. 

If you or someone you know has experienced targeted attacks like those described in the linked articles, we encourage you to report it through our Community Reporting System so the university can both address the current situation and track larger trends. If you would like to speak with someone confidentially about your experiences, please reach out to University Counseling Services at any time for assistance.

To our CWRU community, we encourage you to consider ways to address and eradicate identity-based violence in our community and beyond. Consider joining local advocacy organizations like OCA Greater ClevelandMotivAsians and OPAWL and amplifying Asian and Asian-American Pacific Islander voices. Consider signing up with organizations like Stop AAPI Hate to learn more about these issues and advocate for inclusive values in Washington, D.C. We also encourage you to support Asian-owned businesses, including the many restaurants and grocers in Cleveland’s AsiaTown and those throughout the Greater Cleveland area. Make support of Asian businesses part of your routine as you live, study and work in Cleveland.

We applaud the passage of the emergency resolution condemning racism, xenophobia, hate speech, intolerance and discrimination passed by the Cleveland City Council on March 1, which was introduced by Councilmember Basheer Jones, representative to AsiaTown and Cleveland’s Ward 7. We encourage City Councilmembers Blaine Griffin and Kevin Conwell—representatives to the CWRU campus—to continue their efforts to protect our Asian communities in the Greater Cleveland area and to provide more resources and support for AsiaTown residents.

We recognize there is a great deal to be done, but there is also good work happening. We applaud and support the efforts of the Community Innovation Network at the Jack, Joseph and Morton Mandel School of Applied Social Sciences, one example of many we could cite.  

We encourage every member of the university community to continue participating in the good work that is being done across our region, state and country on behalf of justice and equity. 

For additional information and resources, contact the Office of Multicultural Affairs, the Center for International Affairs or the Community Innovation Network. 

In solidarity,

Sustained Dialogue

Baker-Nord Center for the Humanities 

Center for Civic Engagement and Learning 

Center for International Affairs

Community Innovation Network  

Dean of Students

Diversity Leadership Council

Inamori International Center for Ethics and Excellence

Jack, Joseph and Morton Mandel School of Applied Social Sciences

Leonard Gelfand STEM Center

LGBT Center

Office for Inclusion, Diversity and Equal Opportunity

Office of Diversity and Inclusion, School of Law

Office of Multicultural Affairs

Schubert Center for Child Studies

Social Justice Institute

Flora Stone Mather Center for Women

Office of Greek Life

Office of Student Activities and Leadership

Office of Diversity Initiatives & Community Engagement, School of Medicine

Division of Public Safety

University Health and Counseling Services

If your office would like to be added to this list, please contact a member of the Sustained Dialogue Committee (Lisa Kollins, Elizabeth Miller or Mark Chupp).

Addendum: After initial publication, we added three offices, the Flora Stone Mather Center for Women, the Office of Greek Life and the Office of Student Activities and Leadership, to the list of signatories to this letter to reflect those offices signing the statement. We will keep this letter updated as more offices sign on.

Correction: Originally, we misspelled the title of the Office for Inclusion, Diversity and Equal Opportunity. The Observer apologizes for this error.