This weekend’s horrific shooting in Southern California

Dear campus community,

It pains me to write another message regarding a horrifying mass shooting. This one occurred over the weekend and targeted a Christian church in Southern California whose congregation is mostly of Taiwanese descent.

Again, law enforcement indicates that this shooting is being investigated as a hate crime. The  congregants were targeted because of their identity. The motivation, in this case, appears to be geopolitical in nature. But let me be clear. Hate is hate. Attacking people because of their background, whatever the reason, is an act of terrorism. We cannot give into hate or the power its claims from the terror it inflicts on innocent communities it selects because of their identities. 

This shooting comes on the heels of the mass shooting in Buffalo this same weekend which prompted my message on Sunday. There is no place in our society for hate, especially hatred based on race, nationality, religion, sexual orientation, place of origin or political affiliation. The shooter’s violent actions extend to many communities, vividly reminding us that a person who hates one type of community likely hates others, too. This type of corrosive, destructive ideology leaves no community untouched.

Members of our own Asian Pacific Islander Desi/American (APIDA) students, faculty, and staff community have family and friends who live in Southern California. And, while these actions are in another part of the state, the repercussions and fear are felt on our campus as well. The impacts of this hate crime are challenging within the APIDA community because both the shooter and victims are of Asian descent. Like many other racial groups, APIDA is made up of a number of cultures and ethnicities with complex histories. This complexity does not diminish our concern and support for all of our students, faculty and staff. 

We can and must choose to care for each other, we can choose to reach out to others, we can choose to accept, and in fact, embrace our differences. And, it’s worth repeating, we must choose care, we must choose love. 

We all need to support each other in times of need. For anyone affected by this tragedy we have resources available to support you during difficult times such as these. Please know that you are not alone. Whether student or employee, our campus has counseling and resources available to you and we are here to take care of and support each other. If you see or know someone who needs support, please be that support for them.

Students and employees have access to emotional support and counseling services. Students are encouraged to contact Counseling and Psychological Services or SJSU Cares and employees are encouraged to contact the Employee Assistance Program. As a reminder, our campus has a Behavioral Intervention Team (BIT) also takes referrals regarding individuals who may need help in terms of mental health. BIT can consult or can reach out to individuals to provide support. Call 408-924-6339 or use this non-emergency referral form.

Additionally, students can reach out to our APIDA Student Success Center and Program Director Jinni Pradhan. You can also reach out to our Office of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion to schedule a meeting with our staff. Faculty and staff can also reach out to Bonnie Sugiyama, President of the Asian Pacific Islander Faculty Staff Association Please note that while they are not licensed therapists, they can provide support, listen and help individuals and groups connect with services. We all must come together and choose to care. It is up to all of us. 

Sincerely,

Steve Perez

Interim President

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