The following was originally written as a Facebook post in response to the death of George Floyd and the ongoing Nation-wide protests in May 2020. I have expanded on it since.
Last edited: June 23, 2020.
TL;DR If you are not too emotionally exhausted, please consider engaging in education (yourself or others), advocacy, and emotional support. If you are financially able, please consider donating to promote racial justice; Ehrik and I are matching up to $1000 in donations.
2020 has been hard. It has been a reminder of how the U.S. is a country built by but not for people of color (POC), and our otherness and the violence against our bodies continues today. From the disproportionate COVID-related fatalities of POC to anti-Asian xenophobia to the escalating anti-Black racism and police brutality this week, we are hurting and we are exhausted.
I am writing this today as an Asian American graduate student, and I encourage those of us who are not already emotionally and financially deplete to support each other, and especially our Black friends & colleagues, in whatever way possible. This post includes lists of resources and action items under the following sections:
- For non-Black allies;
- For my Asian American friends;
- For my friends in science & academia; and
- Financial support.
- Additional resources (added June 9, 2020)
For non-Black allies
I have focused on communities that I identify most strongly with in this post. If you do not identify as part of the Asian American or academic communities, I encourage you to reflect on the communities you are a part of, and how those aspects of your identity make you complicit or uniquely position you to make change. While there are a lot of resources (social media, podcasts, books) that I encourage you to engage with, I have listed two of my favorites here. Ultimately, actions speak louder than words; I hope the you will choose one practice to integrate into your daily life and that you will add on additional practices over time.
- Start Here, Start Now guide (S.G. Morrison, Google Doc)
- Actor –> Ally –> Accomplice guide (J. Osler, PDF)
Actions: (adapted from the resources above)
- Check in with those impacted to listen about their experiences and see what they need.
- Donate money (see below).
- Engage your family and your community in this conversation.
- Use your job, volunteer time, and vote to challenge structural barriers to equity and to address racial injustice.
For my Asian American friends
I grew up recognizing that racism and colorism are deeply embedded in Chinese culture, but thinking that the Asian American experience is unrelated to the Black experience; I have spent the last decade learning about how the latter is not true. I invite us to reflect on how the model minority myth and how racism in our cultures pit us against other people of color; and I invite us to recognize that our civil liberties are tied to the civil liberties of the Black community and that we are often complicit in anti-Blackness.
I know that our community is big and diverse; our struggles and experiences are probably as different from each other’s as they are compared to the Black community’s. But — we have stood in solidarity with Black activists before (Black Power Movement, Third World Liberation Front, Black Lives Matter), and we can only do more good by continuing to do so now. Please consider engaging with the resources and actions above, and specifically with the resources below. After learning, please translate your understanding to action!
- Asian American Racial Justice Toolkit
- Resources for non-Black Asians on anti-Blackness (uncredited)
- Model minority myth (NPR’s Code Switch):
- For talking to your family and community: Letters for Black Lives & Strategies to communicate with parents (Kim Tran)
For my friends in science & academia
Science and academia are not apolitical. We need to recognize that our research and our institutions often flourish at the expense of people of color, and academic culture continues to be oppressive in so many ways. I encourage you to read the books below and to advocate for both immediate action and long-term change in our institutions.
Actions (immediate & long-term):
- Advocate for academic accommodations for trainees and faculty impacted by current events.
- Amplify voices and needs of Black students and faculty. Create spaces for the community to talk.
- Equip yourself to find alternatives to calling the police. For example, this flow chart of questions to ask yourself before calling the police or this list of “12 things to do instead of calling the police.”
- Read about ambient belonging, and make your lab, program, department, school more inclusive.
- Make recruitment, admissions, and hiring practices more equitable.
If it is within your means, Ehrik Aldana and I encourage you to donate to funds or organizations that are directly helping victims, protestors, and communities harmed by police brutality and white supremacy.
Ehrik and I have donated to Campaign Zero, the NAACP Legal Defense and Education Fund, and the family of Ahmaud Arbery, and we will match any new donations to funds that promote racial justice up to $1,000 total.
Please contact me directly with your donation receipt. (We have reached our match limit. Please see update below.)
For a list of funds to donate to, we suggest this collection: https://blacklivesmatters.carrd.co/.
- Sedona Murphy & Miranda Stratton for inspiration and resources.
- Lawrence Bai & Julie Ko for conversations about Asian American-Black relations.
- Bryan Thomas, Erin McCaffrey, & Brooks Benard for identifying resources and actions for academia.
- Ehrik Aldana for spending the week consuming and processing with me.
I recognize that this is an overwhelming time for many of us. I hope that we can strive to come together — not be apathetic or disengaged. As always, I am here to listen and to talk.
With love & in solidarity,
Update (June 2): Ehrik and I have reached our match limit of $1000 in donations. Please consider continuing to donate; we will begin to match again when we are financially able!
(Added June 9, 2020)
Compilation, Guides, and Reading for Self-Education
- A Guide to Allyship
- An Essential Anti-Racist Reading List
- Anti-racism Resources for White People
- Black History Month Library
- Black Women, Books, and the Quest for Liberation: A Reading List
- Confronting White Supremacy for White Educators
- Justice in June
- Resources for our readers: What you can do to support the Black Lives Matter movement (The Stanford Daily) and Dissent to Editorial Board: E puribus unum: Out of many, one
- Stanford BioAIMS Allyship Toolkit
- Stanford Biology for Black Lives
- Stanford Black Lives Matter Resources and Support
Self-education resources re: police abolition / defunding the police
- A World Without Police: Study Guide
- MPD150: A People’s Project Evaluating Policing
- Reading Towards Abolition: A Reading List on Policing, Rebellion, and the Criminalization of Blackness
- Reformist reforms vs. abolitionist steps in policing
- What does it mean to defund or abolish police? (Trevor Noah on the Daily Show)
Resources for Protesting
- ACLU Know Your Rights: Protesters’ Rights
- How to Protest Safely During a Pandemic
- How to Protest Safely in the Age of Surveillance
- How to Protest Safely: What to Bring, What to Do, and What to Avoid
- Stanford Libraries Activism, Demonstrations, and Protests Library
- Academics for Black Wellness and Survival
- Cell’s 100 inspiring Black scientists and 100 more inspiring Black scientists
- Concrete Steps for Recruiting, Supporting, and Advancing Underrepresented Minority Scientists
- Resources for Anti-Racist Education and Action
- Resources to Center Black Community Needs: for staff and faculty
- An Open Letter to the Bi-College Community (Haverford & Bryn Mawr)
- Coalition of Black Student Organizations Asks to University Administration on Campus Police
- Fund the MLK Research and Education Institute @ STANFORD
- Letter to Stanford President re: Policing on Campus
- Letter to the President and Provost: Action items for achieving racial equity
- MENTORS: Support for Black students entering STEM fields (by @LalehEsmaili & @kss_phd)
- Solidarity with Black Students, Faculty, and Staff: Call to Action for Non-Black Stanford Graduate Students
- #ShutDownAcademia / #ShutDownSTEM
Campaign for Academic Accommodations:
- Accommodations Announcement Template (Stanford Center for Teaching and Learning)
- It’s time for universal grading accommodations (The Stanford Daily)
- Letter to Faculty: In a time of protest and pandemic, students need additional academic accommodations
- Petition for Academic Accommodations for Spring Quarter 2020
- Requesting Academic Accommodations Email Template