Sonoma State Stands Unified Against Racism and Violence

Thursday, March 4, 2021, 3:00pm
TO: Campus Community
FR: Judy K. Sakaki, President
      Jerlena Griffin-Desta, Chief of Staff and Vice President for Strategic Initiatives & Diversity


Dear Campus Community, 

Here we are again, in this time where repugnant rhetoric has set the stage for targeted violence, most recently against Asian Americans. Even as some members of the Asian American community began celebrating the Lunar New Year, some individuals were met with heinous, violent assaults, and the community as a whole was being blamed by some for the Coronavirus. Particularly disturbing are videos of blatant physical assaults occurring in the Bay Area.

It is important that we stand together in defiance of any hate-filled, racist acts. We are writing to bring attention to these actions and to condemn them. We will always stand up, speak out, and use our influence to create a campus community that is free of hate and filled with compassion, care, and concern. 

Consider what writer Kamand Kajouri told us in excerpts from her piece, “They Want Us To Be Afraid:” 

They want us to hate.
They want us to hate the other,

to practice aggression and perfect oppression.

They want us to throw out our kindness,

to conceal our love and bury our hope.

They are so ignorant they don’t understand

that my soul and your soul are old friends.

They are so ignorant they don’t understand

that when they cut you, I bleed.

They are so ignorant they don’t understand

that we will never be afraid,

we will never hate,

and we will never be silent.

We are emboldened to stay on our path toward creating a campus climate known for concern and care to all. Thankfully, as an educational community, we have the tools to teach, to learn, and thus to be and do better. Already we are bringing these tools to bear through myriad diversity initiatives, and we continue to work toward dismantling institutional oppression and challenging bias in all its forms. Next month we will be distributing a campus-wide climate survey for students, faculty, and staff, and we encourage you to provide us with your candid feedback. 

Please check in on Asian American and Pacific Islander individuals that you know - family, colleagues, neighbors, and friends - to let them know that you, too, stand with them. If you are struggling, please reach out to CAPS (Counseling and Psychological Services for students) or Empathia Employee Assistance Program (EAP for staff and faculty) for support. As women of color who know first-hand how racism can diminish the spirit, we also know that support, love, and encouragement magnifies it. Our campus is, first and foremost, a space of learning and leadership. As we stand in solidarity against hatred, we will continue to lead with an aim toward inclusivity - with joy in our hearts - so that our legacy is one of love and hope and light.

Join us!