Message From Director of Institutional Equity & Inclusion

Dear Students, 

I hope that you and your loved ones are well during this global, national, and community crisis. The personal impact of this tragedy in the PAU community is multifold: loss of loved ones; anxiety about physical health of self and others; impact to mental health; fears about financial wellness, food access, and housing stability; physical separation from those we care most about. We are worried about essential workers of all kinds: health care workers, people working in stores and other essential services, people who deliver and transport goods. In your academic and professional lives, the move to virtual and remote conditions has impacted your ability to give mental health care to all who need it, to work needed jobs, to be in the presence of classmates and friends, and the uncertainty of the future looms large. 

We have also seen this virus laying bare the health, economic, and social inequities that have been decades and centuries in the making. Those of us who are of Asian descent are facing high levels of stigma, xenophobia, and racism, and increasingly becoming targets of bigotry and hatred. Those of us who are indigenousBlack, and Latinx , and those us from low resourced backgrounds, are more likely to have pre-existing health conditions, are more likely to be working in occupations that don’t allow for sheltering-in-place and that put people into contact with others, are more at risk for losing jobs (and health insurance), are more likely to live in crowded conditions, and are more likely to pass from Covid-19.  

We are feeling fear, sadness, anxiety, anger, worry, and sorrow; the news every day is grim. These times are unprecedented in modern history, and the full ramifications of the virus on members of our society will take months to uncover. As individuals, we are being called to remain centered in a world that feels off keel and in a temporal context that doesn’t allow for certainty and security. This continual re-centering requires that we act as individuals and remember that we are in relationship with one another.  

  • In our personal self-care, in whatever forms this might take in our current circumstances, we disconnect from news as we need, connect and reconnect with our loved ones, enact the ancient and modern practices that give our worry and anxiety a chance to ebb.  
  • In relationship with others, we can stand in solidarity and allyship with groups facing increased hardship and heightened hatred, and denounce bias of all kinds.  
  • In our communities, we connect to find support, fellowship, and strength to face the sobering and heartbreaking realities together.

I end with an open call to each of you, for every member of our community is a resource who can offer support to others. I am attaching resources provided by the Asian American Psychological Association and by members of the Society for the Psychological Study of Culture, Ethnicity, and Race (Division 45 of APA). Please forward to me other resources or practices that you have come across that have given you solace as an individual, support as a member of a community or group, and/or strategies to be a bystander and ally in these times. I would like to create a Google doc with a running list of these resources.  

Teceta Tormala 

Director of Institutional Equity and Inclusion