Remain 'too busy to hate'

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March 24, 2021

We must remain 'too busy to hate'

We were all stunned and saddened by last week’s unspeakable murders of eight of our fellow Atlantans, six of whom were Asian women. Tragically, this crime is just one example of a growing nationwide problem. Hate crimes against Asians and Asian American Pacific Islanders (AAPI) rose 149 percent from 2019 to 2020, with nearly 3,800 incidents reported in the first year of the pandemic and many more likely unreported. We must urgently address these increased attacks against people who contribute so much to the vibrant fabric of our nation.   

This upward trend of violence and hatred is reprehensible and the antithesis of all that we stand for as an institution. Both the Woodruff Health Sciences Center (WHSC) and Emory Healthcare include embracing and promoting diversity, equity, and inclusion as core values within their strategic plans, because diversity not only makes us a more successful organization, but is also an indicator of who we are as people. Our Asian and AAPI colleagues represent an essential part of our Emory community and we know that, without their many contributions across the scope of our tripartite mission, we would be a lesser institution in every way. 

We stand in solidarity with our Asian and AAPI colleagues and neighbors because no one should feel like a foreigner in her or his own country. In this time of escalated violence, we must all help amplify their voices because we can’t create change without creating awareness. It is our moral responsibility to stand up and speak out against racism and violence whenever and wherever it occurs – but especially here in our own community. In the words of Mayor Bottoms, “A crime against any community is a crime against us all.” 

I know acts of senseless violence such as this one can make us feel powerless, but there are actions we all can take to help support and uplift our Asian and AAPI community: 

  • Educate yourself on the great breadth and richness of Asian cultures; 
  • Volunteer or donate to Asian and AAPI community groups; 
  • Support and promote local Asian- and AAPI-owned businesses; and 
  • Speak up if you see or perceive anti-Asian hate in any of its forms. 

Atlanta – “the city too busy to hate” – should be a place where all people can pursue their dreams without fear of violence or intimidation and where we all actively respect and support one another. To the loved ones of each of the eight victims and to all who experienced fear and sorrow as a result of this heinous crime, please know that we see you, we appreciate you, we grieve with you, and we are here for you.

Jonathan S. Lewin, MD, FACR
Executive Vice President for Health Affairs, Emory University
CEO and Chairman of the Board, Emory Healthcare
Executive Director, Woodruff Health Sciences Center

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