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Southern Oregon University Holds Community Gathering Following Atlanta Hate Crimes

Southern Oregon University

Many Asian-Americans say they feel especially unsafe after eight people, including six Asian women, were targeted at their workplaces in Atlanta, Georgia, last week. On Friday, Southern Oregon University’s Social Justice and Equity Center held a community gathering to show support for those impacted by the violence.

Around 50 people attended the online Zoom gathering. Many of them shared personal stories about feeling unsafe in Jackson County because of their race.

Irene Kai serves on the board of the Ashland Culture of Peace Commission. She says that as a Chinese woman, she’s experienced racism her entire life, and she appreciates the recent rise in awareness.

“What is happening in Atlanta, I am very very grateful that it is getting national attention," said Kai. "As an Asian, we said, ‘Wow. How long do we have to go through this to get some attention in this country?’”

Several other Asian-identifying students and faculty members also cited times where they’ve felt unsafe in the area because of their race.

Kai says that Asian people in Jackson County are made to feel like outsiders.

“Like it or not, Jackson County is pretty diverse," Kai said. "But we choose not to see us. We are invisible. I want stories to be told by non-white people in Jackson County just say hey, I’m your neighbor, say hello to me.”

SOU President Linda Schott said she wants to make sure that Asian students feel safe on campus. She said the university is working to provide as many resources as possible to make that happen.