West Hartford Superintendent of Schools Tom Moore and Director of Equity Advancement Roszena Haskins, along with Mike Keo, founder of #IAMNOTAVIRUS, shared the following message Thursday.
Dear West Hartford Community,
We are deeply saddened and angered by another horrendous act of violence against the Asian American community. A growing wave of targeted attacks and racist incidents against Asian Americans and Pacfic Islanders across our nation has had a significant impact on our West Hartford community, especially among those of diverse Asian identities. The hate and division needs to end, and our Asian American and Pacific Islander brothers and sisters deserve to feel our love and commitment through our actions as both a district and community.
As leaders who live by our values and stand firmly on our district’s Vision for Equity and Anti-Racism, we are calling for all of West Hartford to stand in unity to more boldly condemn hatred, racism and xenophobia in all its forms. We know that we must support our children in moments of crisis and sorrow as One Community, and we see our parents as partners in keeping all of our kids safe, not just physically but emotionally.
In an act of solidarity, we write this statement in partnership with #IAMNOTAVIRUS, a campaign that started in March 2020 to address attacks against Asian Americans due to Covid-related racism. Founder Mike Keo shares his voice:
In our diverse community of West Hartford, there are children whose families work in many Asian American owned restaurants, groceries, nail salons, massage parlors and other businesses. There are also parents who tucked their child of Asian descent into their beds. What they and many others in our community experienced Tuesday night and during 2020 was not an isolated act of violence or a mass shooting across state borders. What we felt was the sadness and acute fear that we may not be able to protect our loved ones because their race and gender have made them targets. This sends a clear message that we are not worthy of community and our homes, places of worship, schools, and jobs are not safe quarters. We thank WHPS for their leadership and for standing with their Asian and Asian American neighbors, acknowledging our hurt, and naming this violence to ensure our visibility and belongingness is important.
We can all be vigilant allies by naming and speaking up about any acts of hate, racism, discrimination and xenophobia. Education and conversations are ways in which we can all promote anti-racism in our community. We encourage families to begin or continue the journey of learning about your Asian American neighbors by:
- Reading – Children’s literature
- Watching – How to Talk to Children About Asian American Identity and Racism (co-facilitated by WHPS parents)
- Discussing – Continuing the conversation online
We invite you to contribute resources and explore ways to learn the facts, to learn about the history and culture of diverse Asian identities, achievements and contributions to U.S. history. The following resources offer practical ways to show support and to walk in solidarity:
- The Anti-Defamation League (ADL) offers 6 Ways to Be an Ally.
- How to Support Asian American Colleagues Amid Anti-Asian Violence
Principals will follow up with a message of solidarity and information about where children and families can turn for support.
In Community and Partnership,
Tom Moore, Superintendent
Roszena Haskins, Director of Equity Advancement
Mike Keo, Founder, #IAMNOTAVIRUS
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