Standing in Solidarity

The following comments were gathered as part of the #StopAsianHate Vigil held in April 2021.

Chad L. Jackson, president, Black Faculty and Staff Association

On behalf of The University of Alabama Black Faculty and Staff Association, it is our hope that our presence here today symbolizes that we stand with you, and if ever needed, for you, in Solidarity. We stand in solidarity against racialized violence, sexism, systemic racisms, and will remain one of your allies as you advocate against hate crimes. These crimes, and other acts of hate and bias, have no place on our campus nor our communities.

Jaime Garza, president, Latinx Faculty and Staff Association

We need to unite and be the change we want to see in our world. We can grieve our pain, but not allow it to become bitterness. We must recognize that hurt people, hurt people. We also know that loved people, love people. We stand united with the AAPI community and all people to fight hate with love. Let hope for a better world be our guiding light, and let us transform our pain into something useful for generations to come.

Caitlyn McTier, vice president for Diversity, Equity and Inclusion, SGA

As we stand here tonight with the AAPI community, let us all acknowledge not only those who we lost but also the lives that they lived. For too long, those within this community have been pushed to the side, with their needs disregarded and unaccounted for.

Asian Americans have historically been pushed into the category of the model minority, and this has only contributed to the narrative of apathy towards their struggles. It is time for us to not only stand with them, but use our privilege and voices to uplift them. Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders belong. They always have and they always will.

Part of this belonging involves the equitable and inclusive intentions of leadership at the University. It is not enough to speak on how welcome people are without the intention of creating a space designed for them. It serves no one to speak about equity and inclusivity, when those who determine it have enjoyed an institution that was designed for them.

Recognizing our differences in experience, aspirations, and histories is our best method of bringing our communities together. Instead of regarded differences as a way to divide us, we must change the narrative and realize that these are what can connect us.

Each of these people deserved to live long and healthy lives. Their deaths should shake us all and serve as a reminder that there is more work to be done. There is more work to be done in uplifting our friends and family around us. There is more work to be done in aiding in creating an environment of love and acceptance. There is more to be done in standing up for what is right, in following through with our promises, and for committing to the fight for a better tomorrow.

We do not understand everything that comes with being a member of the AAPI community, but we can all do better.

Subhadra Gupta, PhD, professor, Metallurgical and Materials Engineering/adjunct, Electrical and Computer Engineering

As an Indian American, I have experienced hate after 9/11, and I know how shaken and displaced that made me feel. I have done and will do all I can to increase diversity in STEM fields and remove hatred of the “other”. If we can’t see clearly that we are all the same, then we are truly doomed.

Zainab “Zee” Suntai, LMSW, doctoral student, School of Social Work

Every single time we hear these stories of race-based violence, we react with shock and surprise. Yet, these events have been ongoing for years, gaining little to no attention. We shouldn’t be surprised, because we know these injustices have been happening. Our Asian peers have experienced microaggressions for years in the United States and, at the worst of cases, experienced the senseless violence that has resulted in death. We are so reactive in the way we address justice, only putting band-aids on situations that should have never occurred. We need to do more. We need to work on prevention, we need to create safe spaces, and we need to lift the voices of our Asian communities. We all need to work together as allies, especially in this moment, but even beyond this moment. I will do everything in my power to make sure that our Asian community is safe and treated with dignity and respect.