Branson Stands with Asian, Asian American, and Pacific Islander Communities
In the wake of the ongoing acts of violence against Asian, Asian American, and Pacific Islander people in our country, Head of School Chris Mazzola sent the following message to the Branson community on March 18, 2021.
Dear Branson families,
In the aftermath of the appalling shootings in Atlanta, and in recognition of a surge of anti-Asian sentiments that has plagued our Bay Area in particular, I feel compelled to acknowledge and denounce the ongoing acts of violence against Asians, Asian Americans, and Pacific Islanders in this country.
First and foremost, our love, support, and solidarity goes out to our Asian, Asian American and Pacific Islander members of the Branson community, past and present, who are uniquely impacted by these events. We stand with you in support of social justice, equity, and human dignity, and we steadfastly reject racism and violence in all of its forms. We honor your strength and grace in the midst of this trauma and are here to support you in any ways that you need. Russell Jeung, founder of Stop AAPI Hate, recently stated, "Asian American communities were already set on edge; we were alarmed by the rate of violence and hate directed towards us...The shooting is again the worst type of violence we could go through ... it can't continue."
Our entire community is impacted by these acts of hate and violence. As we strive towards becoming a Beloved Community, we look to the words of civil rights activist Yuri Kochiyama:
"We are all part of one another...Our ultimate objective in learning about anything is to try to create and develop a more just society."
Several of these brutal and ultimately fatal attacks have been here in our own backyard. Last night's violence in Atlanta resulted in the deaths of eight people, six of whom were Asian. They were at their places of work, simply trying to do their jobs and earn a living. As of now, we know four of their names; Delaina Ashley Yuan, Paul Andre Michels, Xiaojie Yan, and Daoyou Feng.
While this trend of anti-Asian sentiments is not new and has been playing out for many generations, the recent escalation of violence is deeply disturbing. Regrettably, these most recent incidents have been fueled by false narratives and labeling. According to numerous sources, the rise in frequency of these crimes has skyrocketed since the global health pandemic began.
Our community is committed to learning, knowing, and sharing the stories of the contributions and activism of Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders in our country's history, while celebrating the distinct ethnic cultures within this broad racial category. It is critical for us, as a school, to learn the stories of one other, now more than ever. The pandemic has heightened awareness of social injustice, racism and xenophobia. While these cultural infections seek to create divisiveness and alienation, we must confront them by welcoming all of the members of our extended community to share their stories. Shared life stories will reward us with opportunities to see things in a different light, creating connections that are deeper and more authentic, and that, in turn, will build a community that is stronger than ever. Our stories will bond us together and compel us to look out for each other's well being in ways that are sure to be deeply meaningful, especially at this moment in time in our world.
In the wake of these attacks, it is more important than ever that we continue the work of building our Beloved Community at Branson. I have included some resources below if you would like to investigate further or get involved.
Head of School
THREE WAYS WE CAN DO SOMETHING
We acknowledge that there is a diversity of emotions and thoughts that each member of our community is experiencing, so we provide these resources to help you navigate and process these events. We also invite you to stay engaged in some capacity under one of these inquiries of action:
Intrapersonally: What is my personal reflection on how I can engage?
- Continue to ask the hard questions and explore opportunities to grow and learn such as Stop AAPI Hate's national report, "How to Respond to Coronavirus Racism" from Learning for Justice - reviews Speak Up at School tool (interrupt, question, educate and echo) used specifically to disrupt anti-Asian violence. Printable pocket guide
- PBS documentary: Asian Americans and Anti-Asian sentiment summary: National Council on Social Studies
- Reach out to Asian and Asian-American friends and colleagues to offer your support and ask how you can be a better ally.
Interpersonally: How can I engage with others?
- How to Report a Hate Crime - a booklet translated into many languages explaining how to report hate crimes
- Support Asian-American owned businesses such as those listed here. We encourage you to diversify your purchasing power to support diversity all year long - and to make conscious consumerism part of your daily practice.
- Get involved in organizations that are working to support oppressed groups and reduce racism. Specific to Asian and Asian-American communities check out Chinese Progressive Association, Womankind, Filipino Cultural Center, and the Southeast Asian Community Alliance, Asian Pacific Planning and Policy Council (A3PCON), Chinese for Affirmative Action (CAA),
Institutionally: How can I engage for institutional change?