SOLIDARITY STATEMENT FROM UIC’S ASIAN/ASIAN AMERICAN COMMUNITIES

Artwork by GLAS Visual Artist Intern Hana Rafee

A MESSAGE OF SOLIDARITY FROM UIC GLOBAL ASIAN STUDIES PROGRAM AND ITS ASIAN & ASIAN AMERICAN CAMPUS PARTNERS:

As faculty, staff, and students who represent the diverse Asian and Asian American communities on campus, we stand in solidarity with the Black community, our colleagues, our community partners, and comrades in the fight for racial and economic justice. We condemn and denounce the violence that has taken the lives of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Tony McDade, Nina Pop, Sean Reed, Ahmaud Arbery, Sandra Bland, Rekia Boyd, Laquan McDonald, among a devastatingly long list of Black individuals.  We recognize that these murders stem from a long colonial legacy of systemic state-sanctioned violence that is rooted in ideals of white supremacy, racial capitalism, heteropatriarchy, militarism, and supported by a carceral state which has targeted Black, Indigenous, and other people of color. These forms of violence have only been magnified over the course of the past six months by the global pandemic; a pandemic where Black communities have been markedly and disproportionately affected, as evidenced by the fact that more than 20,000 African Americans or one in every 2000 African Americans have died from COVID-19. These realities are only too familiar to many of us who live and work in Chicago, where a legacy of anti-Black structural racism conspires with the neoliberal state and ongoing crises such as the COVID-19 pandemic to deny Black livelihoods, joy, and life. This lesson is further underlined for us as students and educators in the University of Illinois system, a land-grant institution intended to democratize education even as it was founded on Native American dispossession and remained almost exclusively white until well into the 20th century.

As educators and students of Global Asian Studies, a Program that emphasizes the study of Asian and Asian American histories, cultures, and politics, and shifts in US racial formations including Islamaphobia, new Orientalisms, and anti Arab/South Asian/Muslim racisms, our intellectual projects are anchored by a commitment to understanding and historicizing the inequalities that face our communities, engaging in dialogue about power and resistance, creating pedagogical spaces that are transformative and engaged with the communities that surround us, and working toward forging solidarities to address social injustices. This is a commitment informed by a genealogy of resistance that can be traced through Black power and liberation movements and the coalitional praxis of the Third World Liberation Front.

Read the rest of the statement here.

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