School of Social Work

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

Dear SSW Community,

It is heartbreaking to be writing to you again so soon, after the confirmation that the shooting Sunday in Laguna Woods, California, is being investigated as a “politically motivated hate incident,” according to authorities. We grieve for the Taiwanese community, and for the  five victims, including John Cheng, who was fatally shot while tackling the gunman. It truly feels hard to hold it all, to have words, and to find the right ways to support our communities.  

A report earlier this year indicated anti-Asian hate crimes had increased by 339 percent from 2020 to 2021. We know that aggression and violence directed at non-white communities takes a cumulative and collective toll, whether that community is Asian American Pacific Islander, Black, Hispanic, Latinx, American Indian, Native Alaskan or LGBTQIA+.  

As social workers, it is crucial to condemn and oppose anti-Asian racism and discrimination, take action by calling it out and by reporting assaults or harassment when we see it, and to do the same in reporting any kind of hate crime. It is important that we continue to support one another and to utilize resources like University Counseling Services as needed.  You may also find it helpful to provide support in other ways.  The AAPI Emergency Relief Fund provides direct support to survivors and families of AAPI victims impacted by hate-motivated crime. I also highly encourage you to spend some time with The Asian American Foundation Rapid Response Toolkit. This toolkit provides resources for response as individuals and as a community to Asian American, Native Hawaian and Pacific Islander (AANHPI) directed bias, xenophobia, racism and nativisim.

I want to share a statement from VCU: “The racially motivated violence in Buffalo and California this weekend is sickening and tragic. It has no place in our society. VCU mourns with the families of those killed, injured and traumatized by these depraved and senseless acts. As we pursue healing, we must also pursue an end to this plague of violence against human beings.”

I continue to be thankful for our community of social workers who are actively working to eradicate intolerance, hate and violence. 

In community,

Rebecca Gomez signature

Rebecca Gomez, Ph.D., LCSW
Interim Dean

Categories Community, From the dean
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