Personal Reflections | Illinois Mathematics and Science Academy

Personal Reflections

March 18, 2021

Dear IMSA Family,

We will not remain silent on the racism, terrorist acts, and hateful behaviors against our Asian family. I’ve quoted Pastor Niemöller before, “First they came for the socialists, and I did not speak out—because I was not a socialist. Then they came for the trade unionists, and I did not speak out— because I was not a trade unionist. Then they came for the Jews, and I did not speak out—because I was not a Jew. Then they came for me—and there was no one left to speak for me.” We cannot remain silent!

Over a year ago, Asian American lawmakers became alarmed regarding the increasing anti-Asian hate violence in the middle of the COVID-19 pandemic. They called our attention to these hate crimes and sought to pass legislation. In January 2020, Stop AAPI Hate began a campaign to track discrimination against Asian and Pacific Island Americans. They have recorded 3,759 hate incidents of anti-Asian American harassment or attacks compared to previous years. A few horrific examples from 2021 include the brutal attack of a 91-year-old in Oakland’s Chinatown, the murder of a Thai man in San Francisco, the assault and robbing of a Vietnamese woman in San Jose, and the injury to a Filipino man with a box cutter on the subway in New York.

According to recent news reports, the latest incident in Atlanta included the killing of Korean women, among them: Xiaojie Tan, 49, business owner of Young’s Asian Massage, Daoyou Feng, 44, and Delaina Ashley Yaun Gonzalez, 33, mother of a 14-year old and an 8-month-old daughter. Say their names!

I am disheartened at the blatant acts of racism and hate crimes against the Asian, Asian American, and Pacific Islander communities. We have many students, employees, and alumni who are hurting and in pain right now. As individuals and as an IMSA family, we cannot be silent as we see these despicable attacks of violence and murder. We must not be silent. We will not be silent.

IMSA condemns these acts of violence. They represent a disregard for fundamental human rights, compassion, and respect for the diversity that makes our IMSA family and community so dynamic.

To our Asian, Asian American, and Pacific Islander families, let me say we are here for you. We support you. We stand with you.


José M. Torres, Ph.D.