By Abby Weingarten

Less than two weeks ago, a series of mass shootings in midtown Atlanta, Georgia, took eight human lives (six of whom were Asian women). This was, by no means, an isolated incident, but just one example of the racially-charged violence that has plagued the nation since the pandemic began.

To address this and other pertinent issues of social justice and tolerance, New College’s Asian Studies Program—in collaboration with the Gender Studies Program, the Division of Humanities, and the Initiative on Diversity and Equity in Academics (IDEA)—is hosting a townhall meeting on Zoom entitled “United We Stand: A Conversation on Race, Gender and Class-Based Violence” from 7 to 8:30 p.m. Thurs. April 1.

“This webinar is for everyone to share feelings, raise questions and examine the current issues in broader contexts with a panel of scholars, professors, activists and community members,” said Jing Zhang, Ph.D., an associate professor of Chinese language and culture at New College, and one of the event organizers. “While coping with the shock [of recent events] as individuals, we feel the urgent need to get together and offer each other support through a very rough time.”

Speakers from New College include Yidong Gong, Ph.D., assistant professor of anthropology; Maneesha Lal, Ph.D., associate director of faculty development; Amy Reid, Ph.D., professor of French and gender studies; Xia Shi, Ph.D., associate professor of history and international and area studies; Sherry Yu, Ph.D., associate professor of economics; and Queen Zabriskie, Ph.D., associate professor of sociology. Zhang will moderate.

Invited speakers include Long Bui, associate professor in the Department of Global and International Studies at the University of California, Irvine; Belinda Kong, Ph.D., associate professor of Asian Studies and English at Bowdoin College; and Jennifer Lin, Ph.D., New College alumna and political science student at Northwestern University.

“Conversations on these issues have started way earlier at New College. At ‘COVID-19: An Interdisciplinary Approach to the Understanding of a Pandemic’ (a class co-taught by 27 faculty members last fall), I collaborated with two colleagues on the section ‘Xenophobia, Racism and Structural Inequalities During a Pandemic,’” Zhang said. “I have learned a lot from working with colleagues from different fields, and from dealing with students’ input and questions. Many questions were left unanswered after that session, of course, and hence the importance of continuing such conversations in classrooms and beyond.”

Bill Woodson, Ph.D., the dean of outreach and chief diversity officer at New College, shared his support for the “United We Stand” event on behalf of the Office of Outreach and Inclusive Excellence.

“I hope New College community members will prioritize participation [in this event], in order to deepen our understanding of the connections between gender violence, anti-Asian hatred and race-based oppression,” Woodson began, “and strengthen our capability to be allies to the Asian community, while also facilitating our own healing.”

All are welcome to attend the webinar. Register here.

Abby Weingarten is the senior editor in the Office of Communications & Marketing.


Founded in Sarasota in 1960, New College of Florida is a top-ranked public liberal arts college and the state’s Honors College of Florida. New College prepares intellectually curious students for lives of great achievement by providing a highly individualized education that integrates academic rigor with career-building experiences. New College offers 45 undergraduate majors in arts, humanities and sciences, a master’s degree program in applied data science, and certificates in technology, finance, and business skills.

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