By now you will have seen the news of mass murder in Atlanta as part of a larger trend of violence and racism against people of Asian ethnicities across North America and the world. Such violence is not new, but is clearly growing during a period of violent right-wing extremism, COVID-fueled economic crises, and hostility toward anti-racist movements. As our colleague Neda Maghbouleh wrote in an email to her students, “To UTM students, colleagues, and community members of Asian descent: I stand with you in grief, sadness, and righteous anger -- in this pandemic and beyond. To students, colleagues, and community members who are not of Asian descent: please join me in committing to serve as allies and advocates in our shared battle against anti-Asian racism, gender-based hate, and violence against working-class people who labour in survival economies.” I add only to Neda’s inspired words that today my thoughts are with our colleagues in the department and beyond who feel this pain most acutely.
University of Toronto Chair, UTM Department of Sociology