Support and Solidarity for Asian, Asian-America, and Pacific Islander Gusties

President Rebecca M. Bergman sent this message to students, faculty, and staff on Thursday, March 18, 2021.
Posted on March 18th, 2021 by

I write today with a message of support and solidarity to our students, faculty, and staff who are of Asian, Asian-American, and Pacific Islander (AAPI) heritage—and all members of the Gustavus community who uphold our core value of justice—after this week’s deadly shootings in Atlanta that targeted Asian women.

The shootings come at a time when AAPI people have increasingly been victimized by unfair rhetoric and behavior over the course of the last year. These unjust actions call us to examine the intersecting dimensions of race, gender, and class that appear to have motivated the attacks in Atlanta, and how members of the AAPI community have been improperly and irrationally blamed for the COVID-19 pandemic. Discrimination against AAPI people, and AAPI women in particular, has too often gone unseen and unchallenged. Let me be clear: anti-Asian speech and behavior, whether it is overtly violent or quietly racist, has no place at Gustavus and no place in an equitable and inclusive society.

If you want to talk or need support, I encourage you to reach out to the Center for Inclusive Excellence, the Dean of Students Office, the Office of the Chaplains, or the Counseling Center. The chaplains will be also holding space in Christ Chapel tonight from 8:30-9:30 p.m. for students, faculty, staff, and community members to come light candles and sit in the space with others in silence. Individuals are welcome to come at any time during the hour to light a candle in memory of the victims of violence in Atlanta and to practice silent prayer, meditation, or reflection. COVID-safe practices are in place in the Chapel and will be observed at this vigil.

At Gustavus, we have a vision statement that guides our diversity, equity, and inclusion work: to be a just community where all of us feel a sense of belonging and benefit from an exceptional education. A vision is more than just words. It takes courage and humility. It means challenging ourselves and others. It means stepping in as a bystander. It means approaching the world as a learner and connector. It means that we respect and affirm the dignity of all people. And it means taking action, in big ways and small, to grow in understanding, compassion, and love.

Yours in community,

President Bergman


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