Dear Members of the Harvard Community,
For the past year, Asians, Asian Americans, and Pacific Islanders have been blamed for the pandemic—slander born of xenophobia and ignorance. Our own friends and colleagues have had insults and racial slurs thrown at them. Footage of individuals being targeted and assaulted has driven home a rise in aggression and violence across the nation. Today, we continue to reel in the wake of eight murders in Georgia—six of the victims of Asian descent—and to contend with events that shock the collective conscience.
It has become politic to abhor the act rather than the actor, to speak of hate and violence as if they exist independently of those who perpetrate them. People hate; people speak; people act. Each of us must respond in both words and deeds, demonstrating the good that comes from building a community made stronger by difference. Harvard must stand as a bulwark against hatred and bigotry. We welcome and embrace individuals from every background because it makes us a better community, a stronger community. An attack on any group of us is an attack on all of us—and on everything we represent as an institution.
Each of us can offer comfort and support to members of our community who are feeling targeted and vulnerable. As always, if you or someone you know has experienced a racist attack, please contact the Harvard University Police Department. You may also share concerns by submitting an anonymous report through the University’s dedicated hotline either online or by phone at 1-877-694-2275.
I long for the day when I no longer have to send such messages. It is our collective responsibility to repair this imperfect world. To Asians, Asian Americans, and Pacific Islanders in our community: We stand together with you today and every day going forward.
Lawrence S. Bacow