The ongoing harassment and violence against Asians and Pacific Islanders that began at the onset of the coronavirus outbreak can be attributed to racist language directed at and the scapegoating of members of the API community. Although racism towards the API community is not new, anti-Asian sentiments and attacks have increased by up to 150% during the height of the pandemic and are pervasive to this day, and they are punctuated with the most recent high-profile deaths of Christina Yuna Lee and Michelle Goh. Sadly, many more acts of violence towards the API community go unreported.
Because API communities are faced with invisibility and persistent misconceptions such as the model minority myth that perpetuates the stigma that APIs are okay and do not face racism or prejudice, racism and discrimination directed at API communities are often overlooked, yet they remain damaging and marginalizing. Many API individuals are struggling and need support, especially during this time of increasing racial tension and social unrest.
The purpose of this letter is to address the safety, mental health, and the general well-being of Asians and Pacific Islanders working in the California Community Colleges system. A growing number of API faculty feel apprehensive on community college campuses. Some are asking to teach online instead of in person for fear of being targeted, others are choosing not to wear jewelry so that they do not attract additional unwelcome attention, and many more are concerned for their safety or the safety of their loved ones while in public. These reports are not isolated incidents, and many more in the API community share the same fears and anxieties. In fact, these accounts coincide with a recent report that found Asians and Pacific Islanders are more fearful of hate and racism than the pandemic itself (Fitzgerald Rodriguez & McDede, 2021). API communities are experiencing a compounding of trauma, especially as reported incidents against Asian and Pacific Islanders continue (Stop AAPI Hate, 2021). 
At the Spring 2021 Plenary Session of the Academic Senate for California Community Colleges, the delegates passed Resolution 3.03 denouncing Anti-Asian American Pacific Islander racism.  To continue these efforts, faculty, particularly those in leadership positions, need to take on a more proactive role in the safety and well-being of API individuals within the California Community Colleges system, especially during these times. The following actions would all be positive steps in such efforts:
Ask API Individuals how they are doing, whether or not they feel safe on campus, and if they are experiencing any forms of discrimination, including microaggressions.
Urge college leadership to create safe avenues for API individuals to report issues as they arise, take reports seriously, and investigate and take action accordingly.
Remind API individuals of the gateways and resources to support their mental health.
Work with college leadership to provide allies with intervention training and education on the current struggles of their API colleagues.
The ASCCC and all community college colleagues should continue to support the efforts of the Asian Pacific Islander Caucus in “advocat[ing] for issues central to API individuals in the California Community Colleges system.” One can do so by becoming a member of the caucus or sharing information about the caucus to colleagues, supporting caucus initiatives such as the disaggregation of API data, considering the caucus’ recommendations on Asian/ethnic studies courses and programs, and aiding efforts in building coalitions with allies, communities, and other existing ASCCC associations. These actions are just a few examples of what the ASCCC and community college colleagues can do to support API individuals and strive towards diversity, inclusion, belonging, and anti-racism within the California Community Colleges system.
The heart of this letter is a call to openly stand with the API community during these difficult times. Hopefully this message will serve as a starting point to providing ongoing support to API individuals within the California community colleges. This work can and should also serve as a foundation for working with other communities within the community college system as well.
Fitzgerald Rodriguez, J., & McDede, H. (2021, June 1). Report: Asian Americans
More Stressed by Anti-Asian Hate Than COVID-19. KQED, https://www.kqed.org/news/11876061/report-asian-americas-more-stressed-….
Stop AAPI Hate. (2021, November 18). National Report (Through September 2021).
1. For further information, see the California State University San Bernardino Center for the Study of Hate and Extremism at https://www.csusb.edu/hate-and-extremism-center and the website Virulent Hate at https://virulenthate.org/.
2 .The full text of ASCCC Resolution 3.03 SP21 is available at https://asccc.org/resolutions/denounce-anti-asian-american-pacific-isla….