March 18, 2021
As more information is released about the tragedy in Atlanta on Tuesday, we are disturbed and heartbroken. This horrific crime - a white man murdering mostly Asian-American women - occurs during a time in which acts of violence and other hate crimes against AAPI (Asian-Americans and Pacific Islanders) have increased significantly over the past year. It is worth noting that violence and discrimination targeting the AAPI community predated the current pandemic, and that violence by men targeting women continues to be unacceptable.
Over the past few years, our district and town have denounced racism, anti-semitism, and xenophobia. These acts of hatred affect our entire community deeply. We believe it is important to condemn these acts of violence. We can not allow racism, anti-semitism, xenophobia, and misogyny to be normalized.
While this crime occurred some distance from Amherst, we know our community is not free from prejudice and that members of our community experience discrimination. In Amherst, an important part of who we are, is due to the strength and contributions of our AAPI community. We want the AAPI staff members and students to know that our district and town have policies that address harassment, discrimination, and bullying. We will fully and fairly investigate any incidents of anti-Asian racism or bigotry.
Individually and collectively, we all play a role in how welcoming our community and schools are to our neighbors. With the celebration of the Lunar New Year fresh in our minds, both the Town and School District pledge to stand with the AAPI community in condemning the increase in violence and discrimination towards these members of our community. We encourage all members of the community to reflect on supporting colleagues, friends, and neighbors who may be hurting at this time. Additional information and resources can be found here and here. Families, please feel free to contact school counselors or principals regarding challenges that your child may be experiencing.
Michael Morris, Superintendent of Schools
Paul Bockelman, Town Manager Chair
Ben Herrington, Human Rights Commission