Dr. Champ & the District Respond to Incidents of Asian Hate


Jack Tirsch, Co-Editorial Director, Junior

Race and ethnicity are two of the major focal points for having a diverse society. Whether our communities are like a salad bowl or like a melting pot, everyone’s differences are what keep the world unique. In recent years, racism, in the form of hate crimes directed against a specific group because of its background, have been on the rise. Now, the the Asian-American community has become the latest target of hate-based criminal behavior. On March 16, eight people of Asian descent were killed in Atlanta by a white man. This occurred in the wake of several other attacks on Asian-American people across the United States which gained national attention. In response to these events, Dr. Cheryl Champ released a statement to the Pelham community elucidating the district’s plans to emphasize cultural competence to create a more inclusive and respectful Pelham community within the school district.

Last year, there was an escalated number of attacks on the Asian community in 47 U.S. states. According to the New York Times, “From March 19 to December 31 last year, the organization Stop AAPI Hate received 2,808 firsthand reports of violence against the Asian community.” The organization, Stop AAPI (Asian-American and Pacific Islander) Hate, was created in California in early 2020 to combat verbal and physical attacks on the Asian community. Some believe that the rise in violence towards Asian-Americans is due to the false narrative that the Asian community spurred the Covid-19 pandemic. The Center for the Study of Hate and Extremism at California State University released findings in early March that showed hate crimes against Asian-Americans rose by 149 percent between 2019 and 2020. After the shooting in Atlanta, many people are raising money to donate to the families who lost a loved one in the event. In addition to this, some are contacting their local elected officials to work towards collecting more data on hate crimes.

The Pelham School District has emphasized its plans to remove hate from the community while also condemning the recent national events. In the most recent letter to the community, Dr. Champ wrote, “This rise in bias and hate underscores the importance of our Strategic Plan goal of Cultural Competence, under which the District endeavors to cultivate an empathetic, inclusive and equitable school community that values and encourages respect, voice, and agency for all students.”

Additionally in this email, Dr. Champ mentioned that the district will address any bias-related incidents if they occur at any Pelham schools. However, this does not mention if the district will hold any school-wide assemblies or other preemptive measures to address this topic and put down bias-related incidents at the schools. 

Now, more attention is being drawn to these events, specifically on the Asian-American community. While it may be difficult to hold mass rallies to demand change during the pandemic, there are many other ways to advocate for these causes by utilizing platforms such as social media and local community forums. As more people speak out about these incidents, more work is being done by organizations like Stop AAPI Hate to bring unity to communities.