March 22, 2021
Dear MPSA Community,
We, members of the Arlington County Montessori PTA Executive Committee, write to you today to stand in solidarity with Asian, Asian-American, and Pacific Islander (AAPI) individuals and communities as they grieve. The latest report from Stop AAPI Hate, a coalition that tracks reports of violence and harassment, found that there have been at least 3,800 hate incidents targeting Asian-Americans since March 2020, a number that is more than likely undercounted. Unfortunately, these acts are not new and have traumatic historical roots dating back generations. And many incidences go unreported out of fear and frustration. The recent murders in Atlanta that took the lives of eight people, six of whom were Asian-American women, are yet more instances of the very real and very deadly dangers of anti-Asian misinformation, racism and xenophobia.
We echo the recent APS statement and would like to take this moment to reaffirm our commitment to help foster a “safe, inclusive, and welcoming community” for ALL of us. We do not condone acts of discrimination, hate, or violence. We choose to be a community that actively challenges systemic racism and recognizes and celebrates diversity, and we commit to taking steps to move that vision forward. We hope you will join us in supporting community members, owning our individual parts, and in committing to check in with each other during difficult times, regardless of what we think might be happening. And to encourage community members to reach out for support and share resources to help walk us through our concerns, our fears, and our feelings around racism and discrimination.
We are mindful that these conversations about hate, violence, and “otherness” can be triggering and/or exhausting for those for those of us who experience variations of bias, discrimination, racism, and fear on a regular basis; for those of us who it intimately touches and for those who feel invisible, or fear retaliation. The consequences of racism on our children and families are real. When people are victimized as individuals or as a group, it creates a diminished sense of self, a view that the world is a dangerous place. Acknowledging the systemic oppression and bias some of us face will not make it go away, and yet it is a necessary step in beginning the healing process as a nation and as a community.
We are here to support all students, families, teachers, and staff and are grateful for this rich community of beautiful people. We are planning to hold a listening session in early April to share with each other how racism has affected our lives. In this way we can learn from each other and hear diverse perspectives in a respectful and meaningful way to connect on a deeper level around issues that impact so many in our community. We will provide additional details soon.
We also offer the following resources for support and learning:
Stop AAPI Hate: Was founded by a consortium of three groups: the Asian Pacific Policy and Planning Council (A3PCON), Chinese for Affirmative Action (CAA), and the Asian American Studies Department (AAS) at the San Francisco State University. The consortium began its action in January 2020 as a response to the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on Asian Americans, specifically news accounts of incidents of racially motivated violence.
Asian and Pacific Islander American Health Forum: As a health justice non-profit organization, APIAHF is dedicated to improving the health and well-being of more than 20 million AAs and NHPIs living in the United States and its jurisdictions.
The Washington Post: Resources to understand America’s long history of injustice and inequality.
ThoughtCo has developed a site with resources that could be equally beneficial for parents and educators: “Unlearning Racism: Resources for Teaching Anti-Racism”
Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) topics from the American Nuclear Society (ANS)
The ACMPTA Executive Committee:
Jenn Gonzaga, President
Kerry Johnson, First Vice President of Programs & Events
Jen Landis-Santos, Second Vice President of Outreach & Communication
Katie Lin, Treasurer
Sara Upchurch, Secretary
View the APS statement in support of the Asian American community here.
View the National PTA statement in support of the Asian American community here.