May 4, 2022
Dear GSAPP Community,
Back in 2016 when I joined Columbia, standing outside Avery Hall was an auditory revelation: I would hear Arabic, Chinese, Korean, Spanish, and more languages less familiar to me. GSAPP has always been a kaleidoscope of the world. Celebrating our shared values and cultural richness is particularly meaningful at this moment, to commemorate the Asian American and Pacific Islander (AAPI) Heritage Month. More importantly, to stand firm in supporting our students and community members who are experiencing harassment and discrimination simply because of who they are.
Racism is deep-seated in this country, and it exists in countries across the world. In the pandemic realities, we have been experiencing its many forms. According to Stop AAPI Hate, more than 10,000 hate incidents against Asian American and Pacific Islander persons were reported from March 19, 2020 to December 31, 2021. Such hate incidents have occurred close to home, in New York City, and around campus. I know our students feel anxious and angry. Talking about these feelings is important, so is finding support among peers and from campus resources.
Commemorating the AAPI Heritage Month also is about uplifting the narratives of our students – you can see the engagements of student organizations here – and alumni from diverse backgrounds. The online feature “Celebrating AAPI Month at GSAPP” showcases some of these. With the incredible range of heritages innate to the GSAPP community, our pedagogies must be culturally informed, in the classroom and extracurricular offerings. On this front, the Anti-Racism Task Force is helping to shape our approach through ongoing conversations with students across different programs. This builds upon our progress toward an anti-racist GSAPP, for continued actions. I look forward to sharing more updates.
My best wishes for the completion of the Spring semester.