Dear students and colleagues,

The murders in Atlanta of eight individuals, six of whom were women of Asian heritage, has sparked a national conversation about the growing tide of hate and violence in our country directed towards individuals of Asian and Pacific Island decent. On Friday, President Biden and Vice President Harris traveled to Atlanta to acknowledge the tragic loss of life, to meet with community leaders, and to call on all of us to not remain silent in the face of attacks on our colleagues, friends, and fellow citizens. Speaking from Emory University, President Biden said, “Our silence is complicity. … We have to speak out. We have to act.”

Drake University is blessed to have a vibrant Asian and Pacific Islander community on our campus, among our alumni, and across Greater Des Moines. These students, graduates, colleagues, and friends enrich our educational and formational mission by bringing perspectives and experiences that expand and enhance everyone’s understanding of the world and how we can make it a better place. These members of our community deserve, like everyone else, to be able to make their way without fear of being targeted because of the bigotry of others. Let us all take a moment this week to express our love and support for our Asian and Pacific Islander friends, colleagues, and community members. To say to them that we stand with you against those who seek to harm you or in any way deny your rightful place in our collective community.

Please know that there is help for anyone who is struggling because of the events of last week or any other hate incidents that have occurred all too frequently over the last year. For our students, appointments can be made with the University Counseling Center at 515-271-3864 or with Drake’s spiritual counselor, Ted Lyddon-Hatten, who can be reached by email at For staff and faculty, the Employee Assistance Program is available by calling 515-244-6090. In addition, the Crisis Text Line is always available by texting “HELLO” to 741741.

I close with a quote from Grace Lee Boggs introduced to me today by Professor Kevin Lam in our School of Education. “Love isn’t about what we did yesterday; it’s about what we do today and tomorrow and the day after.” (2011)