Portland Community College | Portland, Oregon Portland Community College

PCC joint message regarding recent violence against AAPI communities

Mark Mitsui and Tricia Brand.

President Joe Biden has ordered all U.S. Flags immediately to half-staff across the USA, along with all state and other flags flying where the U.S. Flag is hoisted, until sunset on Mon., Mar. 22, as a mark of respect for the victims of the senseless acts of violence perpetrated on March 16 in the Atlanta Metropolitan area.

Dear PCC Community,

Today marks the one year anniversary of Governor Brown’s Stay at Home orders, due to COVID-19. Since then–throughout this year–we have seen a precipitous rise in discrimination and violence against Asian, Asian-American and Pacific Islander (AAPI) communities and individuals. Indeed, racist labels attached to the novel coronavirus–and perpetuated by those in the highest ranks of the U.S. government–have fueled the flames of anti-Asian sentiment.

While there is still more to learn about the motives of yesterday’s shootings in Georgia, we do know that many of the victims were Asian women targeted at their workplace. That fact is horrifically consistent with a pattern of recent hate crimes and assaults on AAPI residents, including businesses. Portland’s very own Jade District, which is celebrated every year at the Southeast Campus, has experienced an alarming uptick in vandalism that is racially targeted.

As President Biden reminded us in a recent Presidential Memorandum, “[a]n estimated 2 million Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders have served on the front lines of this crisis as healthcare providers, as first responders, and in other essential roles.” Members of the AAPI community are our colleagues and neighbors, friends and family members, and our faculty, staff, and students.

Portland Community College stands in solidarity with our AAPI students, staff and faculty who are likely learning, working, and teaching with extremely heavy hearts today. These senseless and increasing attacks harm us all and must come to an end. Reporting instances of bias and xenophobia observed or experienced against AAPI and all of our racially and socially marginalized communities is vital. There are PCC, state, and national resources that are here to help:

Over the last year messages such as these have become all too common, the weight of this collective trauma weighs on us all. There has been so much anger and loss, grief and exhaustion over the last year though some of us have experienced more of it than others. We ask every member of our community to make choices big and small, to make others feel a sense of belonging, respond to others from a place of empathy and care, and to learn about others and their cultures. Violence and hate are choices we make, and we must make different choices every day to build a more just and inclusive college, city, nation, and world.

 

Mark Mitsui, PCC President

Tricia Brand, PCC Chief Diversity Officer