We, faculty and staff members of the Sociology Department at Syracuse University, are deeply saddened and outraged by the mass murders that took place in Atlanta on March 16th 2021. Among the eight persons who were tragically killed, six were Asian-American women - Soon Chung Park, Hyun Jung Grant, Suncha Kim, Yong Ae Yue, Xiaojie Tan, and Daoyou Feng. These murders are not isolated events. During the COVID-19 pandemic, nearly 3,800 hate incidents have been reported in the U.S., and Asian women have been more than twice as likely to be targeted as men. Discriminatory rhetoric, including references to COVID-19 as the "China Virus," among other hatefully racialized phrases, stoke violence across the country. We strongly condemn these repeated expressions of hate speech and the horrific violence against persons of Asian descent sweeping across the U.S. and other parts of the world. Our thoughts are with all the victims and the communities impacted, including Asian and Asian American students and faculty in our department who have to personally process these painful events and still conduct their academic careers with professionalism. We recognize that these recent events are part of the historical and systematic exclusions targeting Asians in the U.S. We are committed to building an inclusive learning environment grounded in combating all kinds of racism. We pledge to keep educating ourselves about more and better ways to support our Asian and Asian American colleagues and students, as well as other communities negatively impacted by racism.
As protests demanding justice sprout up all over the country following the latest in a long line of killings of unarmed black men and women at the hands of police, we, faculty and staff members of the Sociology Department at Syracuse University, feel compelled to add our voices to those crying out for sustained institutional change.
We mourn the loss of George Floyd, Ahmaud Arbery, and Breonna Taylor. We recognize that their deaths occur during a global pandemic that is disproportionally impacting Black, Brown, and immigrant communities in the U.S., including nearly 23,000 Black Americans who have died from COVID-19, and has heightened discrimination against Asians in the U.S. We honor the tens of thousands who have poured into the streets, with courage and commitment, to turn our public mourning into political transformation.
As scholars who study the structures and consequences of inequality and oppression, we acknowledge the deep-seated historical roots of racism in the United States that stem from the enslavement of Black people, the genocide of Indigenous peoples, and the systematic marginalization of “othered” groups. We recognize that racist structures are built at the intersections of ethnicity, social class, gender, religion, citizenship status, ability, age, and sexual orientation. Racism and white supremacy pervade our social institutions, shape our lived experiences, and contribute to deplorable economic, educational and health inequalities. The university as an institution does not escape these structures, as #NotAgainSU tried, again, to teach us, in the face of institutional violence and suppression.
As educators and scholars, we are committed to exposing these inequalities, facilitating public understanding of their causes and consequences, and encouraging both macro-level solutions and local programs of action and reparation. We stand in solidarity with students of color who have taken leadership across the nation, and who now join in the frontlines of protest even as police and state violence grow more threatening. We call on each other and our leaders, those at Syracuse University and those within our larger society, to implement meaningful, lasting change, in collaboration with the multi-racial communities in which we dwell.
Edwin Ackerman, Janet Coria, Cecilia Green, Madonna Harrington Meyer, Prema Kurien, Scott Landes, Amy Lutz, Yingyi Ma, Shannon Monnat, Jennifer Karas Montez, Jackie Orr, Arthur Paris, Gretchen Purser, Rebecca Schewe, Tara Slater, Merril Silverstein, Janet Wilmoth