It is with heavy hearts that we have learned of the atrocious mass shooting in the Atlanta area on March 16, 2021 that took the lives of eight innocent victims – six of whom were women of Asian descent. While discrimination, hate, and violence towards the Asian-American/Pacific-Islander (AAPI) community sadly have a long history, this recent tragedy has once again brought this issue to the forefront. Rates of hate crimes against the AAPI community have risen drastically since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic. Research released in March 2021 by the advocacy group Stop AAPI Hate1 revealed nearly 3,800 incidents of verbal harassment, physical assault, civil rights violations, and online harassment between March 2020 and February 2021.
We at UTHealth Student Counseling Services stand in solidarity with the Asian, Asian-American, and Pacific-Islander communities and grieve with you. We are devoted to promoting an environment of respect, appreciation, and honoring of the differences that make each of us unique and we strive to foster a safe, welcoming, inclusive, respectful, and affirming culture for all students. Further, we are committed to diversity and challenge ourselves and others in the pursuit of social justice (see our Diversity and Inclusion Statement blog post).
The UTHealth Office of Diversity and Inclusion offers a great list of resources addressing topics such as anti-racism advocacy, racial trauma, self-care, and what to do when witnessing or experiencing an incident. On March 26, 2021 two of our Student Counseling Services psychologists, Dr. Marion Zahn and Dr. Jason Yu, also served on a panel of speakers to discuss systemic racism, hate crimes against Asians, and how to best advocate for our community and patients. The recording can be accessed via the UTHealth Panopto page and UTHealth has provided timestamps for discussion topics, key quotes, and a summary of the event.
Know that we are here for you at Student Counseling Services. We are available for in-person and virtual therapy and psychiatry sessions from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday in the UT Professional Building, 6410 Fannin St., Suite 130. To schedule an appointment, call 713-500-5171. If you are in crisis, the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline and Crisis Text Line are available 24/7 at 1-800-273-TALK (8255) and 741741 (Text HOME), respectively. The I-M-UT Crisis Hotline, our own UT crisis resource, is also available 24/7 at 713-500-IMUT (4688).
Dr. Zahn, Dr. Bahrman, Dr. Yu, and the UTHealth Student Counseling Services Team