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Message from Loyola’s president: Responding to violence against Asian, Asian American, and Pacific Islander communities

Rev. Brian F. Linnane, S.J., president of Loyola University Maryland, released this statement today:

"The horrific killings in Atlanta on Tuesday, March 16, that resulted in the deaths of eight people, including six Asian American women, should leave us outraged. From the earliest days of the pandemic, we have witnessed xenophobia and racism toward Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders. But, although the pandemic heightened these issues and brought greater awareness to them, our nation has a long and shameful history of racism, prejudice, and hatred directed against people of Asian descent.

As a community committed to working toward justice, we denounce these recent acts of violence and hatred. We stand with members of our community who are members of the Asian, Asian American, and Pacific Islander (AAPI) communities and our commitment to continue to oppose prejudice, racism, hate crimes, and violence—and to work for inclusion, justice, and peace.

St. John Paul II spoke of the importance of being aware of social sin, sin that has an impact on others and which we may be complicit in. Racism is a prime example of social sin that damages lives and of which many participate. We allow structures of racism in our society that benefit white persons to the detriment of persons of color.

Another social sin worth naming in this situation is that our society and culture promote an unhealthy approach to sexuality that leads to human trafficking and a whole industry that takes advantage of and victimizes women. In viewing this tragedy with that perspective, we should ask ourselves whether we are complicit in creating or supporting these structures that keep these women marginalized. We have an obligation to ensure that every individual’s full humanity is realized and valued. We should ask ourselves how we can work to change society’s view of human sexuality in a way that lifts individuals up and values them as persons regardless of their gender or sexual identity.

I encourage you to embrace this moment as an opportunity to educate yourself and consider how you might contribute to advocacy and meaningful action in this work for justice. Speaking up is important, but just as important is action that will lead to change.

Our intentions in Alumni Memorial Chapel at Mass yesterday included this most recent tragedy, and we will continue to pray for an end to the ongoing tragedy of this pandemic of racism in our world. On Tuesday, March 23, at 7:15 p.m., weather-permitting, the Asian Cultural Alliance—in collaboration with ALANA Services and Campus Ministry—will offer a vigil and light luminaries on the Quad. We hope to draw attention to this issue and bring our community together in prayer and purpose to remember the victims of this most recent tragedy. Let’s take this moment to shine a light on the ongoing, underlying issues that we need to address as a society.

I also encourage you to take some time to delve into the resources I am sharing to learn more about these issues and the voice you might lend in addressing these issues:

Asian Americans Advancing Justice
NBC News Resource List
APALA Racial Justice Tool Kit
CDC Guidelines on Reducing Stigma
SPLC Bystander Intervention Guide

Let us work together to create a more just world with optimism, hope, light, and love."