Today, Dean Michael A. Simons shared a version of the message below with all St. John's Law alumni in support of our extended AAPI community and to reaffirm the Law School's commitment to calling out, and standing against, racism wherever and whenever we see it, in solidarity with our community members who are subject to racism and violence in their many forms.
Dear St. John’s Law Alumni,
Last week, I sent a message to our students about the increasing violence against the Asian American Pacific Islander (AAPI) community. Here is what I said:
I concluded that message by directing our students to a variety of support resources available to them here at the Law School.
That was last week. This week, tragically, the violence continued with the killings of eight people in Atlanta, six of them women of Asian descent. As a Vincentian institution, St. John’s is called to answer the question asked of St. Vincent de Paul long ago: What must be done? What must we, as lawyers charged with serving justice and as a Law School community committed to being actively antiracist, do in the face of these acts of violence against the AAPI community?
We come together.
We come together in support of our extended AAPI community. We come together to reaffirm the Law School's commitment to calling out, and standing against, racism. We come together in solidarity with anyone and everyone who is subject to racist violence and hatred in their many forms.
Our students are doing just that: coming together. Both APALSA and our Coalition for Social Justice(CSJ) have issued statements in solidarity with the AAPI community. And four student groups—APALSA, CSJ, the Black Law Students Association, and the South Asian Law Students Association—are organizing a panel program to discuss the importance of Black and Asian solidarity in the face of racism against both communities. Coming together in this way, they are recognizing and emphasizing that solidarity over division is critical. Alumni are invited to participate.
This is a moment of real pain. That pain is being felt acutely by our AAPI colleagues, students, faculty, staff, and alumni. I have deep faith that the St. John’s Law family can come together and uplift those who are hurting now and in the days and months ahead.
We all have a role to play in remaining vigilant about, and combatting, racism. That is what being actively antiracist is all about.
Michael A. Simons
Dean and John V. Brennan Professor of Law & Ethics
Earlier this week, Dean Michael A. Simons shared a version of the message below with St. John's Law students, administrators, and staff in support of our extended AAPI community and to reaffirm the Law School's commitment to calling out, and standing against, racism wherever and whenever we see it, in solidarity with our community members who are subject to racism and violence in their many forms.
In recent months, acts of physical and verbal violence against people of Asian heritage have increased sharply across the country. Stop AAPI Hate, a national coalition focused on combatting the rise in racism against Asian American Pacific Islander communities during the COVID-19 pandemic, reports more than 2,800 incidents of anti-Asian hate between March 19 and December 31. Last spring, APALSA issued a statement, and many of our student organizations stood with them in support. It is important that we do so as a community again now.
Our country has a long history of racism against Asian and Asian-American people, some of it state sanctioned—including the infamous Chinese Exclusion Act of 1882 (the first law to significantly restrict immigration in the U.S.) and the internment of Japanese Americans during World War II (a shameful act in which many lawyers and judges were complicit).
It is important that we stand against the racism and violence directed at the Asian and Asian-American members of our community, as well as their family members and loved ones. In June 2020, after police officers killed George Floyd, the St. John’s community came together in a virtual event that I have described as one of the most inspiring and moving things I have been part of in my 22 years at St. John’s Law. We came together to support each other—particularly our Black classmates and colleagues—to make the Law School better and to commit to actively combatting racism. Actively combatting racism requires us to stand against racism wherever and whenever we see it and to stand with the members of our community who are subject to racism and hate.
I want to acknowledge the emotional toll that racism has on many of you. I know it can be exhausting. As the St. John’s Law family, we are here to share our support and to stand with you. I want to remind you that there are many resources available to you, including support from me, Dean Kelly, Eric Shannon, and Ashleigh Kashimawo. Counseling is also available through the University’s Center for Counseling and Consultation and through meetings with Madeline Maldonado. Please know that we are here for you.
We all have a role to play in remaining vigilant about and combatting racism. That’s what being actively antiracist is all about.