Dear Drew community,
With sadness and dismay I write today with respect to yesterday’s deadly shootings in the Atlanta area, which left eight dead, including six Asian-American women.
While no motive has yet been determined by authorities, the tragedy comes against a backdrop of a recent rise in anti-Asian bias, rhetoric, and violence across the country. Though we have not experienced this violence locally, hate crimes anywhere are the antithesis of Drew University’s mission and values, which celebrate diversity and encourage thoughtful engagement with the world beyond our campus.
The University’s mission statement closes with a call to “add to the world’s good by responding to the urgent challenges of our time.” In the past year the terms “health” and “safety” have become automatically linked with the COVID-19 pandemic. I urge us to remember that health and safety extend beyond the realities of the virus—because racism undermines health and safety. I encourage everyone to reaffirm a commitment to dismantling racism and to strengthening a sense of belonging, so these basic rights are maintained for all members of our community.
Thomas J. Schwarz