GW Community –
Yesterday evening we began to hear reports of a series of shootings in Atlanta, and as the tragedy unfolded, we learned that the majority of the victims were Asian women. It’s notable that the press conferences today were marked with hesitation by the police to call yesterday’s shootings a “hate crime.” But in the end, regardless of whether or not the shooter meant to target Asians, he perpetrated hate on the Asian community.
It is easy to deflect and attribute this violence to a lone actor – isolated from our larger society. But doing so diminishes the racism and xenophobia the Asian community experiences and ignores the role of White supremacy in yesterday’s murders.
The entrenched system of White supremacy that exists in our society breeds the type of self-claimed power and distorted beliefs that spurred yesterday’s violent acts. I believe our community is committed to dismantling these systems and shaping a future for our nation that is inclusive and equitable and that honors all experiences. It is incumbent on our entire community to not only make space to hear and understand the Asian experience, but to also reflect and respond with grace to being called-in when we do or say something to perpetuate anti-Asian racism.
As we rebuild our community in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, we will have the opportunity to both heal and grow. We will be returning with vastly different stories to share of our time at home. To our Asian community, we understand that your experience with this pandemic began with blatant anti-Asian racism that has grown over the past year. As we heal from this pandemic, we are committed to ensuring that our Asian community feels safe, welcome, heard, and supported. Anti-Asian racism will not be tolerated.
Over the course of this year we have had deliberate conversations in our classrooms around White supremacy, racism, and what it takes to be an anti-racist. We will continue these conversations with our students, especially as we seek to meaningfully redefine what it means to be a “Patriot” in our global society. Our School/Community Liaison will be hosting Family Culturally Responsive Engagement sessions in the month of April to hear from our Asian community about their experiences at GW and how stereotypes and racism have impacted their student’s education. In our faculty Culturally Responsive Education professional development we will continue to discuss and dissect personal biases, racism, and power dynamics and the impacts they have on our students.
We remain committed to ensuring that our students have a safe learning environment – physically, emotionally, and intellectually. To our Asian community, we stand with you in solidarity.
Kristin Waters, Ph.D. | Principal
George Washington High School