School of Social Work

No. 28 M.S.W. Program in the U.S.

Dear School of Social Work Community,

I was horrified Wednesday morning, as I’m sure you all were, to read of the fatal shooting of 8 people in the Atlanta area Tuesday night. Although the investigation is ongoing, this appears to be a racially-motivated act of gender-based violence. As has been reported in the news, 6 of the 8 victims were Asian and 7 were women.

Portrait of Dean Beth Angell
Dean Beth Angell

Anti-Asian discrimination has a long and shameful history in the United States, and rates of violence against Asian Americans have risen at an alarming rate over the past year, during the COVID-19 crisis. These acts are frequently targeted at women and include verbal harassment and refusal of service in addition to acts of brutal violence such as last night’s attacks. It is no secret to any of us that anti-Asian hate incidents have been fueled and propelled by politicians who have sought a scapegoat for the COVID-19 pandemic. As social workers, it is imperative that we condemn and oppose anti-Asian racism and discrimination unequivocally and take action by calling it out when we see it, both in the political arena and in our everyday lives.

We recognize in particular the impact of gender-based violence and the rising hatred against Asians and Asian Americans on all of our SSW community – faculty, staff, and students. It is important to support one another in our feelings of grief, fear, anger, and sense of hopelessness – inside and outside the classroom. Associate Dean Rebecca Gomez invites any of our students who wish to process or hold space to contact her by email, or to attend her weekly community hour on Tuesdays at 11 a.m.

We also wish to remind you of resources within VCU if you need support.

Equity and Access Services
University Counseling Services
Office of Multicultural Student Affairs

President Rao’s message of solidarity

You may also be wondering how you can take action against xenophobic hate. Our colleagues at the NYU Silver School of Social Work recently provided a list of resources for learning about the history of racism and discrimination against Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders (AAPI) as well as links to petitions and organizations working to combat it. We have included these resources below.

Raise awareness and condemn acts of anti-Asian violence:

Report any assaults or harassment that you witness or experience:

Stop AAPI Hate

Sign and share the following petitions:

Stop COVID-19 Disinformation. Stop Anti-Asian Violence

Get Mainstream News Coverage of National Elderly Asian American Assaults

Provide Safety Ambassadors & Prevent Hate Crimes on Elderly in San Francisco Chinatown

End Hate Crimes Against Asian Americans

Educate yourself and stay informed:

When Xenophobia Spreads Like A Virus

Asian Americans Are Still Caught in the Trap of the ‘Model Minority’ Stereotype. And It Creates Inequality for All.  

What I Hear When You Say Model Minority

Coronavirus Fears Show How ‘Model Minority’ Asian Americans Become the ‘Yellow Peril’

The Coronavirus and the Long History of Using Diseases to Justify Xenophobia

On Anti-Asian Hate Crimes: Who is Our Real Enemy? 

Addressing Anti-Asian Racism: Statements, Scholarly Articles, and Responses

Follow AAPI community leaders, activists, and artists on social media for further education and resources: 





Actively show up for Asian Community: 

How to Support Asian American Colleagues Amid the Recent Wave of Anti-Asian Violence

Asian People Are Being Targeted By Racist Attacks. Here’s How You Can Be an Ally

Show Up: Your Guide to Bystander Intervention

For Asians and Asian Americans: engage in intentional self-care and connect with people you trust:

Public Service Announcements for AAPI families facing COVID-19 Discrimination

For Asian Americans, Sharing Our Grief is an Act of Revolution 

Self-Care Tips for Asian Americans Dealing with Racism Amid Coronavirus

Anti-Asian Racism is Taking a Mental and Emotional Toll on Me

AAPI Heritage Month Spotify Music Playlist

‘Dear Asian Americans’ Podcast

Categories Community, From the dean, Students
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