March 29, 2021

Dear colleagues: 

As I did in June of this year following the police killing of George Floyd, I find myself writing to you again on a Monday with a mixture of deep sorrow and anger - this time, concerning the recent acts of violence against Asian and Asian American people across the United States, some targeted to women and many involving elderly individuals.  

These assaults and killings are, unfortunately, only the latest ugly manifestations of long-standing and deeply ingrained structural racism directed against Asians and Asian Americans. Such racism and its manifestations have been present since the founding of our nation, and certainly throughout California history: https://www.latimes.com/business/story/2021-03-22/anti-asian-violence-california 

I am sorry that this statement is coming to you a bit belatedly. The reason for this lateness is that initially I felt quite hopeless and paralyzed in response to these events, to the point of inaction. Just the thought of writing about these events felt painful and overwhelming. I imagine many of you have been experiencing similar thoughts and emotions. Please know that I send my love, empathy, and support to all of you, and to all members of the Asian and Asian American communities.  

As I was trying to gear myself up to comment, I was so appreciative of and inspired by Dr. Amadi, who bravely stepped forward to send us her thoughts. In doing so, she shared a powerful statement written by Dr. Katherine S. Cho, a scholar, educator, advocate, and activist at Miami University, Ohio, regarding the violence against Asian and Asian American people in Atlanta: https://www.katscho.com/blog/statement-on-atlanta 

I find all of Dr. Cho’s comments to be eloquent and on point and encourage you to read and reflect on them if you have not already done so. The statement below resonated especially strongly for me, in calling out white supremacy in America as a root cause and urging solidarity:  

“In the intersectional lens, don't get distracted. Don't pit groups against each other, fighting for crumbs, while missing the larger cookie of white supremacy...As Lilla Watson says, 'Our liberty [liberation] is bound together.'"

I am optimistic that we will be able to move forward in such a manner – together - in carrying out our Departmental anti-racism work. And, I echo and ask you to join me in fully supporting the statement issued last week by Dr. Hendry Ton, Associate Vice Chancellor for Health Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion, and cosigned by our Dean, Vice Chancellor, and other HS leaders: "We stand with the Asian Pacific Islander American community, the UC Davis Asian Pacific American Staff Association, whose call for solidarity is included here, the UC Davis Asian Pacific American Medical Student Association, and the Office for Health Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion to call for an end to anti-Asian discrimination and xenophobia and to uplift the health, wellness, and inclusion of APIA communities."  

 In his statement, Dr. Ton also provided some resources to help in these efforts, which I believe you may find useful in mobilizing and coping:  

 I  would also like to remind you of the following resources to help us all support and take care of ourselves:  

While I hope these resources will be useful, they are far from exhaustive. So, please don't hesitate to reach out and let me know what else you might need in processing these difficult events, and how I can help. 

As always, I thank all of you from the bottom of my heart for your work on behalf of the Department - so often carried out in times of great sorrow, turmoil, and adversity such as these. 

Sincerely and in community,  

Tony

Anthony Jerant, MD
Professor and Chair
Department of Family and Community Medicine
UC Davis School of Medicine