Statement by John J. “Ski” Sygielski, MBA, Ed.D., president and CEO of HACC, Central Pennsylvania’s Community College, to the HACC community on March 18, 2021.
I have heard from our Asian and Asian American students and employees that they have seen an increase in racist acts against them over the past several months.
In fact, even my dental hygienist, a graduate of our program, told me that she has experienced it in the area and will be returning to northern Virginia where she will not have to experience the intolerance of some in Central Pennsylvania. By the way, she was very complimentary of our Dental Hygiene Program and all the employees associated with it.
As I shared in early November, when supporting our Black and Brown colleagues and students, we must now, if we have incorporated our College’s value of inclusivity into our homes, classrooms and communities, support our Asian and Asian American colleagues and students. With the murders of Asian Americans in the metro-Atlanta area, and the rise of other murders of Asian and Asian Americans across the country lately, we must continue to be sensitive and provide human decency, empathy, care and support to members of these communities.
When we were reminded to support our Black and Brown colleagues and students because of the racial terrorism they were experiencing, we must now provide that same type of allyship to our Asian and Asian American teaching and learning community members.
So, as an Op-ed piece
I read recently said, “…let’s teach ourselves and others about the considerable heterogeneity within Asian cultures, and at the same time, the importance of a pan-Asian identity for Asian American communities. Let’s grapple with the complexity of why “China virus” is offensive to all Asian and Asian Americans, but also why “Chinese New Year” as a description of the holiday is inappropriate in describing the celebration by many Asian cultures, and therefore it is better captured by “Lunar New Year.”
So, as we are investing our time and energy in becoming anti-racists, let continue to educate ourselves about “…racial microaggressions as contemporary forms of racism, and how Asians or Asian Americans might be prone to experiencing specific types of microaggressions, such as the acts and messaging that incessantly question their American identity (e.g., “Where are you really from?” or “You speak amazing English!”, or as one student told me, recently, “we are all not from China!”
Unfortunately, as we saw last fall, it shouldn’t have to take a pandemic to expose racism; however, now that it has, we need to be very intentional in providing support to our Asian and Asian American colleagues and students.
For more information about HACC’s commitment to inclusion, diversity and belonging, please visit our website
Thank you. About HACC
HACC, Central Pennsylvania’s Community College, is the first and largest of Pennsylvania’s 15 community colleges. HACC offers approximately 100 career and transfer associate degree, certificate and diploma programs to approximately 17,000 students. Also, the College serves students at its Gettysburg, Harrisburg, Lancaster, Lebanon and York campuses; through virtual learning; and via workforce development and continuing education training. For more information on how HACC is uniquely
YOURS, visit hacc.edu
. Also, follow us on Twitter
(@HACC_info), follow us on Instagram
(@HACC_edu), like us on Facebook
(Facebook.com/HACC64) and use #HACCNews.