President Julie Sullivan shared the following in an email to the St. Thomas community.
This week, horrific shootings in Atlanta, Georgia, took the lives of eight people, including six Asian American women. While the man charged with the murders denies his actions were racially motivated, the killings come at a time when attacks on Asian, Asian American and Pacific Islander (AAPI) communities have increased dramatically. Since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, AAPI communities have been the victims of increased racism, bias, xenophobia and violence.
As a St. Thomas community, we mourn the innocent lives that were taken by this senseless violence. Hate, discrimination and bias have no place at St. Thomas and beyond.
The university has reached out to AAPI students, faculty and staff to offer support. Student Diversity and Inclusion Services (SDIS) hosted an event this morning, attended by nearly 100 community members, who showed solidarity with our AAPI students, faculty and staff. Many of our community members also shared the hurt and fear that they are personally experiencing.
It is important for all of us to empathize with the many in our community who feel targeted and afraid. I encourage you to reach out to fellow students, faculty and staff and be a support to one another as we navigate this vulnerable time. Through compassionate outreach and accompaniment, we nourish a campus community of care and belonging.
We condemn all acts of anti-Asian racism and violence in the strongest terms, and we continue to stand in solidarity with our AAPI communities at St. Thomas, in our local community, in the U.S. and around the world.