APIDA/Asian international concerns town hall at Virginia Tech

Published: Apr. 5, 2021 at 8:22 PM EDT
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BLACKSBURG, Va. (WDBJ) - As part of #VTUnfinished Conversations at Virginia Tech, university President Dr. Tim Sands hosted a town hall Monday, highlighting the unfinished conversation of the APIDA and Asian communities.

“I want to know you, want you to know that we see you and we hear you,” Sands said. “We know that the recent surge in violence, harassment and racist acts has been traumatic for you. And we know these things are not new and that they’re not just happening elsewhere, they happen in our community as well, and our campus is not immune. This is an opportunity I think for us to have that conversation frankly and directly.”

The conversation stems from the recent violence we saw last month where a gunman killed eight people at Georgia spas.

“Even though these events are so tragic,” Asian American Student Union President Jessica Nguyen said, “It’s definitely brought us closer as a community, and we’re really thankful to have each other to lean on.”

Students and faculty shared their experiences of how they are collectively grieving and trying to put into words what this violence means for them.

“Anti-Asian rhetoric and violence is not new,” Assistant Professor of English Silas Moon Cassinelli said. “And so that’s the pain, I think it’s the COVID alone, or the pandemic around these issues.”

The panelists said the numbness of these feelings comes from the fact that a lot of the issues of race hadn’t been framed historically until the pandemic set in. There are many resources on campus for students and staff who may need to lean on each other for support during this time.

You can watch the entire conversation here.

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