The student news site of El Camino College

El Camino College The Union

The student news site of El Camino College

El Camino College The Union

The student news site of El Camino College

El Camino College The Union

Asian American discussion forum emphasizes intervention and campus involvement

Board of Trustees Vice President Trisha Murakawa, co-host and SEAC member Mary Ong, author Nina Revoyr, psychologist and adjunct psychology professor Victoria Kwon, and co-host and SEAC member Fine Tuitupou hosted a Zoom discussion forum for Asian-Americans on Tuesday, March 30 to talk about ways to combat the nationwide rise in cases of anti-Asian hate crimes and express support for the Asian American community. “I ask you, I encourage you, I plead with you, to intervene because you can,” Kwon said at the event. “Each of us have the agency, the power to disarm a situation.” (Maureen Linzaga/ The Union)

The Addressing Asian American Violence forum emphasized bystander intervention and campus involvement in support for Asian Americans amidst a rise of anti-Asian hate crimes across the country.

The forum, hosted by the Student Equity Advisory Council on March 30, stimulated conversation about what ECC as a community and educational institution can do to combat these incidents and support the Asian American community.

“If sadness and outrage are the reasons that bring us together, it’s a display of solidarity and support for our Asian American and Pacific Islander colleagues,” Dena Maloney, ECC’s president said at the start of the forum.

As an institution for higher education, Maloney said it is ECC’s responsibility to educate its members and dispel falsehoods and misinformation that have disproportionately impacted Asian American and Pacific Islander (AAPI) communities.

Guest speaker Victoria Kwon, ECC’s Student Health Services psychologist, mentioned that Stop AAPI Hate, a reporting center launched by San Francisco State University, clocked nearly 4,000 racism incidents towards children, adults, and the elderly in the last year.

Cases involved verbal harassment, being barred from service in restaurants, physical assault injury and even death.

“I think some of us, especially when we’re witnessing acts of discrimination with strangers, worry for our safety and that is a real fear, but there are so many things that we can do,” Kwon said at the event.

Following these incidents, the speakers encourage individuals to intervene whenever they witness acts of discrimination with methods such as distraction, documenting the incident, and even calling out racial microaggressions as they are seen in day-to-day lives.

“I ask you, I encourage you, I plead with you, to intervene because you can,” Kwon said at the event. “Each of us have the agency, the power to disarm a situation.”

The dialogue also garnered interest to bring bystander intervention training to ECC when an opportunity comes, as it will teach the communities how to recognize and protect targets of assault and harassment when it occurs.

“We are incorporating diversity, equity, and inclusion principles in everything that we’re doing at the board level,” Trisha Murakawa, ECC’s Board of Trustees Vice President said at the event.

Murakawa said that opportunities for constant collaboration and dialogue among communities on campus bring awareness and action, and closes the gap between all the different groups.

“It’s time for us to all do something about it and I think [getting involved] is what students can do,” Murakawa said.

Amid unrest in Asian American communities, Kwon encourages members to reestablish a routine, do mindfulness meditations and find support in family, friends, or any support groups.

“We need to be limiting our exposure to all the violence that’s happening,” Kwon said. “We definitely need to be informed, but we also sometimes need to take a break for our own mental health.”

Guest speaker author Nina Revoyr also talked about how historical events such as the civil rights movement where many Asian-Americans participated, inspired scenes in her book “Southland”, and how reading can be a way to grasp these situations better.

“To all the young folks on this call, part of why we need you to take care of yourselves is because we need you to be okay,” Revoyr said at the event. “We need you, students, to lead the charge as you have done even today pulling this event together.”

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