Department of Asian American Studies
University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign
STATEMENT ON RACISM AND COVID-19
The Department of Asian American Studies at the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign strongly condemns the alarming rise of violence against people of Asian descent that have emerged in the wake of the novel Coronavirus (also known as COVID-19). 1
We stand in solidarity with those who have been made vulnerable by such discrimination and have experienced verbal and physical attacks as a result of the onset and spread of the pandemic. We fully extend our support to those Asian and Asian American students, faculty, staff, workers, and community members who are affected by this across the nation, at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, and in our local Champaign-Urbana community.
We understand such forms of hatred and violence as part of a broader terrain of anti-Asian racism that has real-life consequences not only for Asians and Asian Americans but other people of color, the poor, service workers, immigrants, migrants, and refugees in the United States. As scholars of ethnic studies, we recognize that these recent examples are not new but part of a long history and ongoing legacy of anti-Asian racism in the United States, evidenced in anti-Asian immigration policies of the late 19th century, such as the 1882 Chinese Exclusion Act, and violence against Arab Americans, South Asians, and Muslims post 9-11.
We demand that our campus leadership mobilize against racism towards Asians, Asian Americans, and people of color more broadly. We demand that the University of Illinois and all institutions of higher education take a leadership role in ensuring the safety and protection of our students and communities in a way that does not rely on policing and criminalization, which continue to disproportionately target communities of color. In particular, we call upon President Timothy Killeen, Chancellor Robert Jones, and Provost Andreas Cangellaris to issue public statements to stand with the Asian and Asian American community, including students, faculty, and staff at the University of Illinois during these difficult times, and work to extend support services to communities in need.
1 https://www.nytimes.com/2020/03/23/us/chinese-coronavirus-racist-attacks.html; https://www.vox.com/identities/2020/3/25/21190655/trump-coronavirus-racist-asian-americans; https://www.washingtonpost.com/outlook/2020/03/25/coronavirus-is-inspiring-anti-asian-racism-this-is-our-political-awakening/; https://www.theguardian.com/world/2020/mar/24/coronavirus-us-asian-americans-racism; https://www.cnn.com/2020/02/20/us/coronavirus-racist-attacks-against-asian-americans/index.html; https://www.nytimes.com/2020/04/12/magazine/asian-american-discrimination-coronavirus.html?referringSource=articleShare