Supporting our Asian-American Community
Events targeting Asian-Americans in Orange County and throughout our state and country have, regrettably, become more common and more deliberate. When we see this kind of bigotry directed at our students and those within our community, we cannot be silent. Our campus community is proud of our almost 30% Asian/Pacific Islander student population, all of whom enrich and enhance our entire campus experience. These recent targeted attacks, which have been physical, verbal, and symbolic, denigrate the students and employees we all care about at Cypress College.
Hate crimes against Asian-Americans have seen an increase during the COVID-19 pandemic. Between March and September 2020, there have been more than 2,500 reports nationally of anti-Asian hate incidents related to the pandemic. Sadly, the true number is likely much higher. Many of our Asian-American students and colleagues have been the targets of micro and macro aggressions that seek to diminish their important contributions to our community. An example of this kind of harassment was reported in the Los Angeles Times, where a family in South Orange County has been repeatedly intimidated due to their ethnicity; the uplifting part of this story is that their neighbors have united to stand up against this hatred, and so must we stand together to condemn discrimination wherever we see it.
According to a recent report by the Los Angeles County Commission on Human Relations, violent acts of hate (in LA County) in 2020 grew to their highest rate since 2008. The most notable increases are violent crimes against people of Middle Eastern descent (142%); Jewish descent (89%); Asian descent (32%); and transgender persons (64%). These numbers are shocking, in no small part because these violent actions are directed against friends, neighbors, and those identified as immigrants.
I am proud that Cypress College continues to speak out against all forms of bigotry. As educators, we can counter ignorance through the power of education; our students come to Cypress College seeking a better life and it is our responsibility to ensure that they are valued, supported, and empowered by the knowledge and love each of you provide every day.
Let us embrace the power we have as educators by refusing to give in to hate wherever it seeks to take hold.
You make a difference in the lives of so many, and we must continue to take this journey together.