The Racial Unity Team condemns both the murders in Atlanta in March 2021 and the ugly surge of hatred against Asians and Asian Americans that has stemmed from scapegoating tied to the COVID-19 pandemic. While these crimes cause new sorrow, new anguish, they have older roots.
The Racial Unity Team itself was born in response to a racial massacre in South Carolina in 2015: a white man hoping to launch a race war killed nine Black worshippers in their church. Because our long and deep history of racial hostility and violence is truly national, we have from the start included a focus on racist elements in Exeter's history as a way of educating ourselves about how to get on and stay on a path leading to anti-racism and to a more perfect union.
One site on our guided walking tour on Racial Unity Day recalls a local consequence of the national Chinese Exclusion Act of 1882; another acknowledges the dispossession of Indigenous peoples; a third explains local employment discrimination against African-Americans.
We have sought and continue to seek the expansion of educational curricula to include aspects of our history that have generally been missing or misrepresented. We have tried to deepen the community's understanding of racism and colorism.
We know that we have much more to learn. For example, we are woefully under-educated about the history and cultures of the diverse Asian American community that is a growing part of New Hampshire's population. We need to cultivate more proactive community connections, programmatic presentations, and relationship building to include our Asian American neighbors, as we continue to address the racial biases that remain pervasive in our society—despite the real progress already made toward a fuller realization of America's aspirational ideals.
In this context we declare our support for Asian Americans, many of whom have long been targets of racial violence and other appalling acts of aggression, both physical and symbolic, around the country. In this terrible victimization our Asian communities are linked historically with many other groups. We are determined to move beyond our country's complicated history. We seek to advance relationships among people of different racial identities in order to reduce bias and encourage full inclusion in our evolving, promising community.
Watch this conversation about the resulting toll on Asian American people and communities and about how communities are pushing back. How are parents, family members, teachers and other caregivers supporting children at a time when physical safety is all but impossible to guarantee? How can the rest of us meaningfully support our Asian American family members, friends and neighbors? Thank you EmbraceRace for hosting this event and making it available to the public.
You are invited to a Zoom meeting.
When: May 26, 2021 07:00 PM Eastern Time (US and Canada)
Register in advance for this let's talk session:
After registering, you will receive a confirmation email containing information about joining the meeting.
From: David Ryan
Date: Wed, Mar 24, 2021 at 3:34 PM
Subject: Respecting All Human Differences in SAU16
As we continue to emerge from the grip of this pandemic, I wanted to refresh your understanding of our commitment to providing opportunities for students to thoughtfully explore conversations and make sense of events involving race and culture in the safety and security of a public school classroom. There have been several violent events that have taken place around the globe in the past few weeks, and no doubt you have seen or heard the tragic news of the recent Atlanta spa shootings in which 8 people died just one week ago. Spurred by anti-Asian bias and disdain for another culture, the growing number of anti-Asian attacks during this pandemic should cause us great concern, particularly as we embolden our students, staff, and families to embrace the core values contained within our work in advancing diversity, equity, inclusion, and justice in our schools and community. To address this concern and inform our educators about resources that are available to them, we shared the following from two of our DEIJ committee members with them last week and we wanted to share with you as well:
As an anti-racist, it is our obligation to call out racism when we hear and see it. As you can see, our anti-racism work is so very critical to building a better, more loving future for us all. In moments such as these, we are often confused about what we can do. Here is some action steps for us all to take:
*Check-in with your Asian-American friends and family*
2. Educate Others. We need to teach our students, communities, colleagues, friends and family about the beautiful diversity of our Asian American communities and begin to build a compassionate understanding of Asian American identities.
3. Donate to organizations that are fighting anti-Asian racism and violence.
4. Report violence against Asian Americans if you see something.
5. Read: Minor Feelings, If They Came for Us, The Farm, The Joy Luck Club, Arrival, Dear Girls, Interior Chinatown, Know My Name, In the Country, The Woman Warrior
6. Learning for Justice toolset to be used as an age appropriate guide if students are engaging in conversations about this topic including conversations and stories about the reasons for bias, examples of micro-aggressions, and common injustices.
As always, teachers know their students well and continue to practice professional judgment in using these tools. We are committed to preparing all of our students to be global citizens and in that mission lies the core value of helping each of them develop their vision for the world at their own pace and how they want to fit into it. In respecting all human differences, students will have a more true vision of what needs to be in order for that to happen.
Please visit our DEIJ page often for more information and resources on this work.
The Racial Unity Team is in full support of the work of Superintendent Dr. David Ryan, his staff and teachers. We see the work as necessary and in support of the full promise toward our American Dream, “One Nation under God, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all."
By Ken Mendis
It is too close to home when I see headlines like those in the picture and I worry for my safety and the safety of my family members. I was born in Malaysia, and I am of Sri Lankan ancestry. I have lived in the US since 1964. I am a veteran of the US Army, and in my professional career I worked in the US defense industry on the Patriot Missile and Cruise Missile programs and the Fire and Guidance Control System in our Trident-class nuclear submarine program that guides and protects these submarines safely through the waters to this day.
I can go on an on about my professional achievements, but that is not the purpose of this message.
Some would have you believe that Hate AAPI is a White Supremacist problem, or Black American problem, or Yemeni American problem, or even an Asian-on-Asian American problem. But let me be very clear—Hate AAPI is a home-grown American Problem. Here is the history lesson we were never taught in school:
· Page Act of 1875 banned Chinese women from immigrating to the United States.
· Chinese Exclusion Act of 1882 placed a moratorium on Chinese immigration for a decade, and the Chinese immigrants who were in the country could not become citizens.
· 1898, the Supreme Court took up the question in United States v. Wong Kim Ark, ultimately ruling that children born in the U.S. were, in the 14th Amendment’s terms, “subject to the jurisdiction” of the United States.
· 1902, The ban on Chinese immigration became permanent and became the blueprint for disallowing the immigration of other groups of people to whom the U.S. wanted to close its borders.
· 1942-1945, Japanese Americans were held in internment camps by way of Executive Order 9066.
· 2017, ban on Muslim immigration was simply building on anti-Asian legislation, and so were other government efforts to restrict the movement of Asians within the United States. Executive Order 13769
· 2018, American Samoa sued, seeking to be regarded as full US citizens under the 14th Amendment’s provision that they were born “within” the U.S., and therefore citizens of the United States. A judge agreed.
· September 17, 2020, 164 members of the House of Representatives voted NO to House Resolution 908 condemning the rising anti-Asian racism that has been taking place since the outbreak of COVID-19.
Now for that Geography lesson you never had in school:
What are the countries that make up the continent of Asia?
A- Afghanistan, Armenia, Azerbaijan B- Bahrain, Bangladesh, Bhutan, Brunei, C- Cambodia, China, Cyprus G- Georgia I- India, Indonesia, Iran, Iraq, Israel J- Japan, Jordan K- Kazakhstan, Kuwait, Kyrgyzstan L- Laos, Lebanon M- Malaysia, Maldives, Mongolia, Myanmar (formerly Burma) N- Nepal, North Korea O- Oman, P- Pakistan, Palestine, Philippines Q- Qatar, R- Russia S- Saudi Arabia, Singapore, South Korea, Sri Lanka, Syria T- Taiwan, Tajikistan, Thailand, Timor-Leste, Turkey, Turkmenistan U- United Arab Emirates (UAE), Uzbekistan V- Vietnam Y- Yemen
What are the countries that make up the Pacific Islanders?
The Pacific Islanders originate from countries within the Oceanic regions of Polynesia, Melanesia, and Micronesia. It is also sometimes used to describe inhabitants of the Pacific islands.
Polynesia The islands are scattered across a triangle covering the east-central region of the Pacific Ocean. The triangle is bound by the Hawaiian Islands in the north, New Zealand in the west, and Easter Island in the east. The rest of Polynesia includes the Samoan islands (American Samoa and Western Samoa), the Cook Islands, French Polynesia (Tahiti and The Society Islands, Marquesas Islands, Austral Islands, and the Tuamotu Archipelago), Niue Island, Tokelau and Tuvalu, Tonga, Wallis and Futuna, Rotuma Island, Pitcairn Island, Nukuoro, and Kapingamarangi.
The island of New Guinea, the Bismarck and Louisiade archipelagos, the Admiralty Islands, Bougainville Island, Papua New Guinea, Western New Guinea (part of Indonesia), Aru Islands, Kei Islands, the Solomon Islands, the Santa Cruz Islands (part of the Solomon Islands), New Caledonia and Loyalty Islands, Vanuatu (formerly New Hebrides), Fiji, Norfolk Island and various smaller islands.
Kiribati, Nauru, the Marianas (Guam and the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands), the Republic of the Marshall Islands, Palau, and the Federated States of Micronesia (Yap, Chuuk, Pohnpei, and Kosrae, all in the Caroline Islands).
Americas Promise For All:
The Racial Unity Team understands the complexity of our Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, and Justice mission - to advance relationships among people of different racial identities, increasing understanding, and reducing racial bias in our community . We also see the work we have to do toward that full promise of our American ideal “One Nation under God, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all." To learn more about the work of the Racial Unity Team and how you can become involved fill out the Contact Us form and one of our Board members will get back to you.
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