School of Nursing

March 17, 2021

Speaking out and Standing up to Racism

I have watched with grave concern over the past several months the increase in hate crimes and violence against the Asian American and Pacific Islander community. Last Tuesday’s hate-infused murder of innocent people in Atlanta cannot be ignored. I join with all across the university in mourning their tragic deaths by speaking out and standing up to racism. We not only denounce this act but reaffirm that our campus and school are a place where everyone feels safe and welcome. We cannot become antiracist unless we take action.

What action can we take? Recent racist incidents against Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders tend to have occurred in businesses or public areas. If you see something, say something. Hate crimes are crimes and should be reported by calling 911 immediately. Non-emergency incidents can be reported to organizations like Stop AAPI Hate or the Southern Poverty Law Center. Incidents on campus – which include virtual spaces like Canvas or Zoom – can be reported using the on-line Report Bias tool. Anyone on the UW campus who does not feel safe should call 911 or SafeCampus (206-685-7233).

We can also correct misinformation related to the discrimination and xenophobia that has exponentially risen during the pandemic. As nurses, students, educators, and health care professionals we must prevent, interrupt, and respond to inaccurate information for the sake of the health of our whole community. Share reliable and factual information from local and state public health officials, such as Public Health – Seattle & King County.

Most importantly, we can offer support and commit to accepting and appreciating each individual in our community. For students experiencing fear or grief, please consider contacting SafeCampus (206-685-7233) or the UW Counseling Center (866-743-7732).  Both resources are available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. UW employees can access counseling and mental health resources at UW CareLink.

As I wrote last May in the wake of George Floyd’s death, nurses have a role and responsibility to lead for change. We live in a world that continues to ask us to reflect on our individual biases and behaviors and to step up and serve all, without regard to race or any other identity.