Statement on Violence Against Asians, Asian Americans, and Pacific Islanders

The Watson Conference planning team stands in solidarity with our Asian, Asian American, and Pacific Islander (AAPI) friends, family, colleagues, and students in the wake of the March 16 mass murder in Atlanta and amid the escalation of acts of violence and hate against AAPI communities generally. As rhetoric and writing scholars, we are attuned to how language can both create and destroy, and we appreciate the need to wield it responsibly. We therefore join with other groups in our field in condemning the cruel, transparent vilification of AAPI communities that has issued from certain national leaders, and we call on those in power to acknowledge and repair the devastation that xenophobic speech has wrought.

We encourage all those reading this statement, and all of us associated with the Watson Conference in particular, to complete Asian Americans Advancing Justice’s Bystander Intervention Trainings and interrupt hate speech and bigotry when we witness it; to report acts of hate at Stop AAPI Hate and Asian Americans Advancing Justice; to donate to organizations that support AAPI communities; and to research further actions to take in our classrooms and communities (see, e.g., Electric Lit’s Literary Guide to Combat Anti-Asian Racism in America and the Asian American Racial Justice Toolkit).