We at the UIC University Library condemn the horrific rise in hate crimes, harassment and discrimination against members of the Asian Pacific Islander (API) community, including the targeted killings of six Asian and Asian American women in the greater Atlanta area. These acts of racist violence reinforce the need for collective action and change, and we recognize our responsibility to actively combat API prejudice, address our own institutional inequity and provide support to our API students, faculty and staff.
Our country has a long history of systemic racism against Asians and Asian Americans, including the forcible incarceration of over 100,000 Japanese American citizens in U.S. internment camps after World War II. In 2020, hate crimes against Asian Americans skyrocketed by 149%, despite an overall hate crime decrease of 7% (CSUSB, 2021). Much of the rise in violence over the past year has resulted from disinformation falsely blaming API people for the spread of COVID-19. API women have been especially frequent targets of discrimination (Stop AAPI Hate, 2021), but these acts are often minimized or ignored.
Historically, fear and hysteria during pandemics and epidemics in the U.S. have brought layers of xenophobia and racist acts against people of color. In 1982 the cholera crisis led to unfair quarantine practices among Jewish immigrants in New York City. In 2003, Asian American businesses were boycotted during the SARS virus outbreak. In 2009, misinformation about the H1N1 pandemic led to anti-immigrant hate rhetoric against Latinx Americans. In 2015, the World Health Organization released statements for naming novel human infectious diseases that do not contain geographic locations, people’s names or cultural references. Until we face these past failures and confront fear with facts, we will continue as a nation to struggle with hatred and ignorance, falling far short of being a just and humane society.
Violence, discrimination and harassment of Asians and Asian Americans and other POC have no place in the UIC University Library, and we are committed to taking meaningful anti-racist action to ensure that our spaces are inclusive and accountable and that API and other POC community members feel valued and heard. We are deeply saddened by these attacks and stand in solidarity with the API community.
For those struggling in the aftermath of these horrific events, we urge you to reach out for help through one of the counseling resources listed below. To get involved and learn more about how to take action against bias, hate, harassment and violence, explore the list of anti-racist resources that follows.
If you or a campus group you are affiliated with would like to collaborate with the Library or suggest ways we can improve our spaces, resources, programs and services to better address API users’ needs please contact us at: firstname.lastname@example.org.
- The Counseling Center supports UIC students. To make an initial consultation appointment at the Counseling Center, please call (312) 996-3490. More details can be found on the Counseling Center website.
- Employee Assistance Services offers counseling and referral services for employees and family members. Contact (312) 996-3588 for support. Additional information on Employee Assistance benefits can be found on the University of Illinois System Human Resource Services website.