OPEN LETTER: A Call for Solidarity Against AAPI Violence and Discrimination

By: SMU Association of Asian and Pacific American Scholars and Allies

The full, original letter and signatures can be found here. Those who wish to add their names to the letter may also do so here.

Dear SMU Community and Friends,

On behalf of SMU faculty, staff, and students of the Asian American and Pacific Islander (AAPI) communities and allies, we write to voice our deepest concern with the recent spike in the racism, violence, and hate crimes against AAPI individuals. We express our heartfelt condolences to the families of the victims of the heinous shootings in Atlanta on March 16, 2021 as well as anyone impacted by the intolerable spate of abhorrent anti-Asian attacks. These episodes nationwide and right here in Dallas and on the SMU campus pain us and make us fearful for the safety of ourselves, our families, and our friends.

We appreciate the supportive actions undertaken and underway by several parties at the university. At the same time, we feel the need to speak up with our own voice to reassure our AAPI community members that we hear them and share their pain and to directly ask the campus community for its commitment. In the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, inflammatory and xenophobic political rhetoric such as the use of terms like “China virus” has fanned the flames of hatred and jeopardized AAPI individuals, especially our most vulnerable groups of elders and women. This scapegoating and concomitant explosion of racist attacks, however, only lay bare the agonizing truth that anti-Asian racism is systemic and has long been a part of American history. We recognize that silence is complicity, and we must speak up as a unified force to instigate change.

We therefore call on every SMU member and friends to stand in solidarity with us to condemn and denounce, in the strongest terms, the dehumanizing, un-American racist actions targeting the AAPI communities and to reaffirm the core foundations of our institution: excellence, integrity, intellectual freedom, open dialogue, diversity, and inclusion. To fight against oppression and create an inclusive campus for all, we urge the SMU community to:

  1. Unreservedly denounce racism and racist attacks in all forms, specifically the recent increase in verbal and physical attacks against AAPI communites;
  2. Recognize the unique challenges facing AAPI communities and the need to include our voices and views in all representative bodies at SMU;
  3. Take concrete actions to support our AAPI communities including but not limited to immediately reporting all racist incidents, checking in on your friends, extending compassion and grace, and keeping the conversation going.

There is no justification for violence, and no one should be harmed in any way solely because of their ethnic or racial background. We strongly believe that everyone at SMU, regardless of skin color or nationality, should feel safe, supported, and valued in the SMU community. Hence, we ask that SMU rise to help us protect and ensure the safety, well-being, and freedom of our SMU community members.


SMU Association of Asian and Pacific American Scholars and Allies

Jing Cao
Associate Professor

Statistical Science

Alex Lippert

Associate Professor


Piyawan Charoensap-Kelly

Assistant Professor

Corporate Communication & Public Affairs

Zhong Lu


Earth Sciences

Weihua Geng

Associate Professor


Chul Moon

Assistant Professor

Statistical Science

Ping Gui


Electrical and Computer Engineering

David Son



Jeffrey Kahn

University Distinguished Professor &

Professor, Law

Hiroki Takeuchi

Associate Professor

Political Science

Akihito Kamata

Professor, Psychology &

Education Policy and Leadership

Peng Tao

Associate Professor


Wookun Kim

Assistant Professor


Minh-Binh Tran

Assistant Professor, Mathematics &

SMU Data Science Institute

LaiYee Leong

Senior Fellow & Lecturer, Political Science &

Center for Presidential History

Sherry Wang


Statistical Science

Steven Lindquist

Associate Professor

Religious Studies & Director, Asian Studies

Jingbo Ye