We at the Foundation for Scholarly Exchange (Fulbright Taiwan) are shocked and saddened by the massage spa killings in Atlanta. Whatever the twisted motivations of the killer in performing these horrific acts, they fit into a pattern of gendered, sexualized, and racialized violence against people of Asian ancestry in America, acts which have a long history but have been especially prevalent since the start of the pandemic. The Stop AAPI Hate Reporting Center has recorded that fully two-thirds of cases of violence and aggression against Asians and Asian-Americans over the past year have been directed against women, regardless of national identity, education, occupation, or social class. And though we do not yet know the full stories of the victims of the Atlanta killings, they are likely to have experienced financial hardship, abuse, and dismissive social bias because of their race, gender, and the nature of their work. How tragic that their lives should end so suddenly and painfully.
To our Taiwan partners and colleagues: this is not America as it should be. It is real, the logical outcome of ignorance, rhetoric, and weaponry that is peculiar to America, but it is not the whole of America or its soul. The soul of America is the Fulbrighters you meet every day in Taiwan, a community of students, scholars, and teachers who affirm and celebrate our diversity. Let us be united – we Taiwanese and Americans – in living up to our highest ideals, building bridges across cultures and identities with positive appreciation and support for our differences as well as our commonalities. Let us together shine a light on our noblest ideals and achievements, through education, research, and knowledge. We should mourn, we should be angry, we should demand change – but we can also be agents of change in living and working together.
Randall Nadeau, Executive Director