Arcadia Unified's Statement of Solidarity with the AAPI Community
Dear Arcadia Unified Students, Staff, Families, and Community,
It’s been deeply upsetting to see news headlines of xenophobic behavior, name-calling, assaults, and too many other senseless and egregious hate crimes against Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders. Because this is too important to go without saying, Arcadia Unified vehemently condemns any and all racially motivated and xenophobic acts of harassment and violence. We will not tolerate racism or bigotry in any form.
We have a robust Asian American and Pacific Islander community in Arcadia Unified and our Arcadia community, which makes it difficult to digest that many have shared that they feel the impacts of racism and xenophobia, which has been further magnified by the pandemic. Though I have not walked in their shoes, I am devastated by the fear and pain being experienced by our own staff, students, families, and community members. We will continue to stand united against fear, hatred, and violence, and we remain committed to doing everything in our power to keep our schools as safe spaces for all our students, staff, and families.
Arcadia Unified will combat anti-Asian hate by:
Listening to student voice. Every student voice and experience in our district matters. We will continue to teach the understanding of each person’s unique background, culture, and history. We will continue to embrace student voice and experiences in meeting this challenge.
Talking about it. We will speak with students about these current events, continue to examine historical events, and let students explore their questions in safe settings. We will continue to show students how to find facts and information from reliable sources, as will we continue to provide mental health support and resources for students to talk through their feelings.
Providing a safe space. Community-building techniques, such as restorative practices and Leader in Me lessons, have been commonplace in our classrooms.
Space for healing and discussion is critical to ensure our students know that they matter and are loved. Here is a list of additional resources that offer some ways to create and hold authentic, healing dialogue for everyone in our school community.
Support and resources. Here are some more resources to help get these important conversations started:
- PBS NewsHour: How to Address the Surge of Anti-Asian Hate Crimes
- Learning for Justice (formerly Teaching Tolerance): Addressing Anti-Asian Bias
- The New York Times: Resources for Teaching About Race and Racism with The New York Times
The Anti-Defamation League (ADL) has also shared resources to empower educators and students with tools on how to take action against anti-Asian hate:
- Contact lawmakers to speak up against anti-Asian hate, xenophobia and violence.
- These student-facing online lessons may be shared with middle-high school students to expand their understanding of how the coronavirus pandemic has increased racism against people of Asian descent and what they can do about it.
- This blog addresses the fear, stereotypes and scapegoating both emotionally and physically harming the Asian American and Pacific Islander community.
- Educators and families may consider reading books like these with elementary school students to help challenge stereotypes and foster respect and inclusion.
Schools have the responsibility and power to create change and to help mold tomorrow’s leaders and policymakers. We gladly accept this continued challenge of ensuring our students have the opportunity to engage in important, informed conversations that champion tolerance, understanding, and respect for all.
I want to acknowledge and thank our Arcadia Unified family for its continued commitment to the crucial racial equity and inclusion work they are doing in classrooms and on our campuses. These recent deplorable incidents demonstrate the continued need to stay steadfast in our efforts to work together to combat ignorance, racism, and hatred. We stand in solidarity with the Asian American and Pacific Islander communities and will continue to do all we can to support our students in addressing these issues in safe, empathetic, and empowering ways.
Dr. David Vannasdall, Superintendent
Arcadia Unified School District