MTI Board Statement Supporting Our Asian Communities // News // March 17th, 2021

March 18, 2021

MTI Board of Directors Statement: Supporting Our Asian Communities

In light of the massacre in Atlanta and the continuous wave of anti-Asian violence in the past year, the MTI Board of Directors believes it is important to release a statement in support of the Asian-American community and call for ways we can address this harm in Madison.

The leadership of Madison Teachers Incorporated grieves for the Asian-American community in light of the recent hate crimes and affirms our solidarity with our Asian-American students, families, and educators, both locally and nationally. Our organization of dedicated educators, our school district, and our larger society need to confront the year-long rise of hate crimes against Asian-Americans. Although COVID-19 has impacted every citizen of this planet over the past 18 months, our country’s racist and hateful attempts to pin the blame of the spread on a particular race has led to an explicit year-long escalation of anti-Asian violence. And although the details have not fully come to light, it appears that the massacre of 8 people (6 of whom were Asian-American) in Georgia was perpetrated by a suspect fueled by anti-Asian hatred. This is sadly not an anomaly, but a culmination of a campaign of hatred that needs to be eradicated not only by leaders and members of the Asian-American communities but those of us who claim to ally with them and their needs to move from hate to love.

As educators, we are uniquely aware of our country’s historical and cultural patterns that promote or tacitly accept Anti-Asian violence, not only in the streets but in our local classrooms. We see it in our systems when we either commit or allow for microaggressions in our educational spaces, when we promote or continue white supremacist curricula without reflection or a commitment to change the narrative, or when we are silent to speak up for those who demand justice. When we ignore verbal and emotional violence against Asian-American students, staff, and families, we tacitly condone and commit physical violence.

As a Union of educators committed to making our personal and school spaces anti-racist and inclusive, we know we have made strides but still have a long way to go. As we journey together as educators, learners, and community members, we call on our Union siblings, our MMSD leaders, and our Madison community to support our Asian-American citizens in the following ways. Many of these ideas came from our student leaders of the district-wide United Asian Club who have come together to speak on behalf of their peers and community, and we hope to uplift their voices in this matter:

  • Support calls to diversify our MMSD, state, and national curricula to incorporate voices and narratives that are not our own. The danger of promoting just a white, Eurocentric narrative in our curricula can be directly connected to our society’s inability to center voices that are different than our own in a pluralistic society:
  • Support local Asian-American businesses such as restaurants, grocery stores, and other Asian-owned businesses. This also includes farmers’ markets and outdoor venues that host Asian businesses as vaccinations increase and community COVID spread hopefully continues to decrease.
  • Financially support Stop AAPI Hate, Freedom, Inc, and other organizations dedicated to fighting injustice against Asian-Americans, both locally and nationally.
  • For educators, during this stressful time, please give space to Asian-American students to process emotionally and give voice to their hopes, dreams, and concerns. Many students communicated that the stereotype of Asian-American students being quiet or reserved leads to neglecting the impact the past year has had on them, their families, and their communities. They ask that we are more proactive in reaching out to them and their families, as well as putting a full stop to any microaggressions or perceived racism happening in our spaces.
  • We also call on MMSD leadership to encourage and facilitate more discussions and professional development opportunities centered on Asian students, staff, and community voices, and how they intersect with our ongoing work to uplift Black, Latinx, and LGBTQIA+ voices. We cannot pretend that this racism started in 2020 and that it will go away under a different president or declining COVID numbers.

We know we have work to do, but our students, families, and staff know it’s not work that we can afford to ignore. As a Union that will always oppose violence and work to lift up marginalized voices and assist them, we must speak up. Otherwise, we are just setting our community up for more violence against marginalized voices in the future.