In response to the mass shooting this week in Atlanta, as well as recent violence across the nation targeting Asian Americans, Dr. Tiffany Townsend, chief diversity officer for Augusta University, shares an important message with the entire university community.
“It is with a heavy heart that I speak to you again, in the wake of a horrific mass shooting in Atlanta this past Tuesday. These senseless murders follow a recent surge in random violence and harassment against innocent Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders in cities across our country, which has left many angry, afraid and deeply distraught,” Townsend said.
“Today, I extend words of comfort to those in our community who are hurting and I urge us all to take a stand against racism, bigotry and hate in all its forms. I am disheartened that in less than a year, I once again have to summon the words of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., ‘Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere. We are caught in an inescapable network of mutuality, tied in a single garment of destiny. Whatever affects one directly, affects all indirectly.’
“Although profoundly troubling, I encourage us to take this moment to come together as a community and engage in the transformational work of social justice. There is so much that we can do to eradicate hate and create an inclusive environment in which everyone is welcome.
“To that end, the Office of Diversity and Inclusion (ODI) will collaborate with Multicultural Student Engagement (MSE), Asian Students In Augusta (ASIA), and members of the ODI Listening Session Planning Committee to plan a panel with expert speakers to discuss anti-Asian hate and discrimination. The goal of this discussion is to increase our understanding, so that we can appropriately advocate for change,” Townsend said.
Please keep an eye out for an announcement in the next two weeks for additional details on this event. This complements the previously scheduled installment of MSE’s Courageous Conversation Series, Being Asian at AU, scheduled for 6 p.m. Tuesday, March 30.
If you or someone you know has experienced or witnessed hate or harassment, you can report it to the Office of the Dean of Students or the Augusta University Compliance Hotline. For those who are in need of supportive resources during this difficult time, please connect with our Jags Live Well resources, or employees can seek services through our Employee Assistance Counseling and Employee Care Programs.
“In closing, I implore us to stand together against hate and unite in our efforts to advocate for justice,” Townsend said.