Open Letter from AA/PIRC re: COVID-19

April 10, 2020

Dear UC Santa Cruz Community:

On behalf of the Asian American/Pacific Islander Resource Center, I sincerely hope this message finds you, and your loved ones in good health and in good spirits.

The sudden global impact of the COVID-19 pandemic has ushered our campus, along with the rest of the world, into uncharted territory requiring drastic measures, and everyone should take on the responsibility to address this common adversary.  I would like to take this opportunity to remind the UCSC community that the adversary is a virus, and not a community of people.

A constant flow of new updates provides us with evidence that demonstrates how the pandemic is disproportionately impacting already marginalized communities. The percentage of related deaths of the black residents of Chicago, the impact on the undocumented community, tribal communities and on the LGBTQ community, are a few examples.  It has been abundantly clear though, that this pandemic has brought to the surface, blatant xenophobia and racism targeting Asian communities across the globe.  There has been a drastic rise of reports of racist attacks targeting Asian Americans nationwide.

Anti-Asian racism and xenophobia are not new to the Asian American experience; the history of Yellow Peril, to the Chinese Exclusion Act of 1882, Japanese American Internment and the story of Vincent Chin, are just a few historic examples of Asian and Asian Americans being targeted as something to fear and blame. Current reports have ranged from online harassment to fatally violent incidents. NONE of it is acceptable.

To our AA/PI Banana Slugs who are directly impacted by these incidents:  I write to remind you all that you did not cause this pandemic, and you are not to blame. Your sadness, hurt, frustration, and fear of being targeted are valid responses. Whether that leads you to speak out against oppression in all forms, to do what you can to take care of yourself, or to change how you present yourself to others are all very understandable reactions.  I also want to emphasize that YOU ARE NOT the problem, and it is not your responsibility to change how others perceive you. If you have been the target of harassment or violence, if you are fearful of being targeted, or simply want to connect and be in community, AA/PIRC and the other campus Resource Centers are working diligently to provide opportunities to connect with virtual programs to support and encourage you during these times.

Another form of support comes from one of our campus partners from Counseling and Psychological Services (CAPS). Dr. Audrey Kim, has extended an invitation for students to engage with her during her Let’s Talk, drop-in sessions on Tuesdays 1-3pm via Zoom (Meeting ID: 831 459 1373; Password: 561863).  

To our Banana Slugs who want to support those directly impacted by these incidents:

I appreciate your compassion and care for your UCSC community.  Please continue to reach out and support your fellow Banana Slugs. You can be most helpful by understanding your own biases and doing the  work to unlearn them. Resist the urge to be silent or complicit in the Anti-Asian sentiments and violence that are on the rise.  Please continue to educate yourselves on Asian American experiences, and have the difficult conversations with people you are close to and challenge assumptions and biases.

Additionally, if you have been targeted by harassment or violence, or have witnessed an incident involving a UCSC community member, even while attending UCSC remotely, I also encourage you:


  • at the STOP AAPI HATE reporting page [This reporting center is not affiliated with UCSC, but was founded by the Asian Pacific Policy and Planning Council (A3PCON), Chinese for Affirmative Action (CAA) and San Francisco State University’s Asian American Studies Department].

It is my hope that this message will serve as a continuation of dialogue, and community building to support the AA/PI community of UCSC, and further the goal of supporting all marginalized communities of UCSC.

You can stay connected to AA/PIRC by adding to our e-newsletter mailing list, and following our Facebook and Instagram accounts.  AA/PIRC Staff also hosting virtual office hours via Zoom:

Mondays & Wednesdays @ 2-4pm; Thursdays @ 10am-12pm

For additional support and resources from the UCSC campus, you can visit:

Counseling and Psychological Services (CAPS)

Slug Support

Disability Resource Center (DRC) 

Please do not hesitate to reach out should you have questions, to let us know how you are being impacted by COVID-19, or if you would like to discuss anything in this message in more depth.

Wishing you good health and safety for you and your loved ones.

In solidarity,

Caz Salamanca

Director, Asian American/Pacific Islander Resource Center |