|Our nation is seeing a surge in xenophobic attacks against Asian-American and Pacific Islander individuals, in particular women. Discrimination against AAPI folks is not new, but the current pandemic has unleashed a particularly cruel and violent wave of hatred, and the recent mass shooting in Atlanta, targeted at Asian-American women, reminds us of the hurtful stereotypes that underlie much of this violence. Recent events call us to clearly speak out that we stand with the AAPI community against these attacks on their lives.
CWIT’s vision and mission compel us to consider the impact on the technology workforce that our community members make. We work to prepare and empower our students to be change agents in creating technology workplaces that are diverse, equitable, and inclusive. Violence and discrimination against the AAPI community is another opportunity for our members to use their CWIT and UMBC preparation within and beyond our workplaces. We call on the CWIT community to use its power and its gifts in service to the AAPI community to promote understanding, healing, and, above all, action. We recommend this resource to you from the UMBC Asian & Asian American Faculty & Staff Council for data about violence against AAPI individuals, resources for further information, and opportunities for action.
To the AAPI folks who are part of the CWIT community, know that you are significant and visible. We care about you and we stand with you.
Black Lives Matter.
The killing of George Floyd, a Black man, at the hands of the police is tragic and outrageous. That tragedy and outrage is multiplied in the context of the countless Black men, women, and people of all genders who have been similarly murdered in the name of systemic racism. Our outrage becomes unbearable in the larger context of deep-seated American oppression, the continued devaluing of Black lives, the silencing of people of color, and the inability of so many white people to acknowledge their privilege and the damage it causes.
CWIT’s vision is to prepare and empower members of our community to be change agents in creating technology workplaces that are diverse, equitable, and inclusive. Current events motivate us to call on our members to use that preparation and empowerment in society, within and beyond our workplaces. It is time for our community to apply the gifts and talents that CWIT has helped us to develop, to be a force for understanding, healing, and, above all, action. There are many ways that one can make a difference and we recommend UMBC’s Mosaic Center, who has curated an excellent list of resources, as well as a powerful statement.
CWIT’s statement of values demands us, in particular, to listen to and challenge each other, to give careful thought to our words, to practice bravery and vulnerability, and to make sure that all are included, valued, and heard. Above all, we ask the CWIT family to take care of each other. We are all hurting, but current circumstances threaten the very essence of our being for many of us. Reach out and listen and care.
UMBC President Hrabowski reminds us that UMBC’s commitment to inclusive excellence requires all of us to do more to confront injustice in the world. CWIT’s values include a social justice imperative to remove obstacles to full participation of groups that are historically and currently marginalized or underrepresented. Current events underline the deeply embedded systemic racism that keeps people of color from the opportunity to fully participate in many aspects of society. Speaking this truth and acknowledging this reality is critical, but it is not enough. We are all obligated to address this, whether or not we feel equipped to do so. But as members of the CWIT community, we are charged with a mission and privileged with experience that prepares us to take action, and thus we cannot stand by.