Once again xenophobia and racism are front and center in our national conversation. Our collective heartfelt condolences are with the families, loved ones, and friends of those slain and injured as a result of the reprehensible serial acts of violence against members of the Asian community in Atlanta, Georgia, and around the country. Moreover, we want to express our support and solidarity of our Asian, Asian American, and Asian Pacific Islander Desi Americans (APIDA) colleagues and peers in the geography community nationwide.
We live in a complex world, but there is nothing that could ever be said to rationalize the senseless and reckless acts of vehemence resulting from anti-Asian and anti-APIDA sentiment in our country. Unfortunately, these realities are not new, they stem from deep-seeded ignorance and learned resentments, creating a false sense of “us vs. them”. We cannot allow the ignorance of these ideas and the subsequent actions to consume and divide us.
Every life is valuable, and each loss of life a tragedy. It is evident, now more than ever, that our country must continue meaningful and relevant dialogues surrounding race relations, hate, fear, and healing. Each of us must have these conversations in the spaces that we occupy, whether our homes, places of employment, our communities, our social networks, and beyond. We MUST talk to one another! Inaction is not an option.
The American Geographical Society understands the value of multiple perspectives, knowledge transfers, and rich debates and is committed to being part of the solution, including developing spaces to host these meaningful conversations. We welcome inclusion and recognize that diversity broadens our psychological universe and enhances our lived experience. We believe that the way to rise above difference and indifference is to cultivate a culture of mutual respect and empathy, built on equity, when and where we can.
We hope you will join us in the month and years ahead as we create opportunities to disrupt otherism, intolerance, and exclusion. And allows us to embrace the talents and unique characteristics of all people.