Dear Graduate Mentoring Community,

In response to the March 16 killings in Atlanta, I and The Graduate Mentoring Center grieve and mourn for those who were killed. We grieve and mourn with the Asian and Asian American communities in Atlanta, nationally, and globally who are experiencing increased violence against them, especially women and elders, on a daily basis.

Photos: unknown, Cristina Pop, Ruben Ortega, Oleksandra Bardash

I offer the resources below to help us know more and how to take action.

Even if you are sure you are not connected to this incident in anyway, think: 8 human beings were killed. The violence against Asian and Asian Americans in the US is not new, and dates back to at least the 19th century. It is not possible to ignore how the intersections of race, sex, gender, nationality, racism, misogyny, and xenophobia connect what happened in Atlanta to the beginning of the pandemic in March 2020, the rising attacks on Asian and Asian American communities, and all that has happened before and since then.

At The GMC, we are connected. Asian and Asian American students work at the center, and our mentors and mentees are from numerous Asian and Asian American communities. It is our responsibility to learn about the different cultures, languages, and experiences that shape the lives of our students, colleagues, and friends. It is also our responsibility to consistently rise up and root out all forms of hatred and oppression against members of our communities and, in this case, against members of the Asian and Asian American communities.

If you know of Grace Lee Boggs and Yuri Kochiyama, then you know, too, that our histories – and liberation and joy - are deeply intertwined. Our safety and freedom are connected to and dependent on each other.

On IU’s campus, The GMC supports the work of the Asian Culture Center, one of several centers that are part of Great Lakes Asian American Student Services (GLAASS), “a regional network of staff and faculty working in the area of Asian American and Multicultural Student Affairs from colleges & universities located throughout the Great Lakes region.” We support the students, faculty, and staff of the Asian American Studies Program and their ceaseless efforts to combat and end racism and violence that is, for example, race and gender based.

Mentoring means not only bearing witness to who is before us, but also seeing that person through what Courtney Baker calls humane insight. That is, we have made the decision that who is before us is human and worthy of being treated as such. I invite you to take three minutes to contemplate this and breathe while doing so.

Friday is the day The GMC offers Sitting for Peace. I am looking forward to being in community to share breath and thoughts. We don’t always sit. We are rarely in/at peace. We are instead sitting to find peace within ourselves; and to make sense of the lack of peace in the world. Most days, this is difficult. Today, once again, it will be hard to sit, be still, breathe. If you want to join us, 11 am, Friday, March 19, please register HERE.

If you witness or experience any form of bias, need support, or want to support someone, please access the information below.

Even with the likely discomfort we will encounter in our meditations this week, we will sit today with the words of Grace Lee Boggs:

“People are aware that they cannot continue in the same old way but are immobilized because they cannot imagine an alternative. We need a vision that recognizes that we are at one of the great turning points in human history when the survival of our planet and the restoration of our humanity require a great sea change in our ecological, economic, political, and spiritual values.”

Thank you so very much for reading this.

Maria Hamilton Abegunde, Ph.D.

Founding Director


Created with an image by Lee_seonghak - "cosmos flowers flowers meadow"