We hope you and your families are safe and healthy during these uncertain times. We are inspired by the strong sense of community that UMBC has shown throughout the COVID-19 crisis, despite the physical distance we now maintain to help ensure our safety. We know that the current situation is very difficult for many. We want to offer our unwavering support for each of you and your larger communities as you navigate these challenging times. We encourage you to stay connected, ask for help if you need it, and help others when you can.
Asian and Asian American communities are experiencing an unwarranted rise in discrimination, xenophobia, hate speech, and hate crimes during the COVID-19 pandemic. Asian and Asian American communities are a vital part of UMBC and it is essential in these times to affirm our commitment to our shared values of equity and diversity and the premise that UMBC is a safe and accepting community for all our members. Racism, discrimination, and xenophobia are not tolerated in our community, and we will work together to address these challenges within UMBC and beyond. If you feel you have been affected by racism or discrimination, please know that the Office of Equity and Inclusion is available to support you. Access their online reporting form if you would like to make a formal complaint.
We are proud that members of our UMBC community are responding to the rise in anti-Asian racism by offering opportunities for discussion as well as resources. This includes the Asian and Asian American Faculty and Staff Council (AAAFSC) and the Counseling Center. Dr. Tamara Bhalla, chair of AAAFSC, has put together an excellent list of resources and reading materials on anti-Asian discrimination that is available on the COVID-19 website. Interested faculty and staff can learn more about the AAAFSC on the group’s website.
In addition, clinical staff at the Counseling Center, including Dr. Whitney Hobson, Dr. Soonhee Lee, Jen Martinez, M.A., and Ishita Arora, M.A., offer a series of webinars including Coping with Racism and Xenophobia, Women of Color Coping Circle, and International Connections during Travel Restrictions. Resources available on their website include the Counseling Center’s Statement on COVID-19 and Xenophobia written by the Counseling Center Multicultural Committee.
We are grateful for the contributions of these and many more faculty and staff who are deeply engaged in supporting our community. It is more important than ever to be caring and consider the ways in which our thoughts and actions may impact fellow Retrievers and others in the broader community. We share a responsibility for one another now more than ever.