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OCU VP issues message on violence against Asian American and Pacific Islander (AAPI) communities

(Advisory notice: this message contains information about death and violence.)

OCU community:

We are steeped in violence and trauma and have been for a very long time.

As Oklahoma City University community members, nestled in the heart of the Asian District, we have the duty to stand for what is right and just in supporting and protecting our Asian American and Pacific Islander (AAPI) community members and neighbors – in our city, state, country, and across the globe. The most recent mass shooting on March 16 in Atlanta, Georgia, where eight people were killed, is indicative of the insidious nature of racism and anti-Asian bias in the United States and the utter disregard for life and the humanity of others.

While this devastating incident just occurred, it wasn’t the first. I am not, in this letter, seeking to resurface the articles and videos of members of the AAPI community being harmed, though I do encourage you to seek the information for yourself – to stay abreast of what is happening across our country and not allow the everyday happenings of life deter us from being connected to what’s happening around us.

Our country, in fact, has experienced long-standing failures in addressing uncontrolled, virulent crimes against people of color. And, let us not make any mistakes in not acknowledging the dismissiveness that sometimes occurs when seeking to address concerns for the AAPI community.

Our community’s core values of integrity, respect, diversity, inclusion, and collaboration need to be at the forefront of everything we do as we seek justice for the most marginalized in our communities.

According to Stop AAPI Hate:

  1. Verbal harassment (68.1%) and shunning (20.5%) (i.e., the deliberate avoidance of Asian Americans) make up the two largest proportions of the total incidents reported.
  2. Physical assault (11.1%) comprises the third largest category of the total incidents.
  3. Civil rights violations — e.g., workplace discrimination, refusal of service, and being barred from transportation — account for 8.5% of the total incidents.
  4. Online harassment makes up 6.8% of the total incidents.

I implore you to review this collection of resources. While it may not be fully comprehensive, it is a starting place for your own journey to learn and take action. You may also be interested in learning about the Asia Society of Oklahoma. Advocacy, in the face of injustice, must be our stance. And, I ask that you join me and others across our community to do what is right and just, use your privilege for good, and work earnestly to create the safe and inclusive environment we all need to thrive.

We also want to remind our community members that there are resources and support available:

  • OCU Counseling Services is available at (405) 208-7901
  • OCU’s International Admissions Office is available at (405) 208-5006 or ia@okcu.edu
  • OCU Director of Religious Life the Rev. Elizabeth Horton-Ware is available at (405) 208-5484 or erhortonware@okcu.edu

Anyone in our community is also welcome to reach out to me at dei@okcu.edu.

To our AAPI community members at OCU, I am here for you. We, as a community, are here for you.

In solidarity,

Talia Carroll, Ph.D. (she/her)

Vice President for Diversity, Equity and Inclusion

Asian District sign