Community Message from President Somerson in Response to Violence Against Asian and Asian American Communities

March 19, 2021

Dear RISD Community,

I write to publicly condemn the increased hatred and violence that is happening against people of Asian descent in the United States. The horrific shootings that occurred in Atlanta, Georgia yesterday are currently being investigated as a possible hate crime. This latest example of violence follows numerous proven hate crimes and incidents against Asian individuals. There is no room for identity-based hatred in a democracy, which undermines the very rules of freedom that are the basis of our society.

At RISD we recognize the multitude of identities and cultures that are being encapsulated into the singular frame of Asian or Asian American, and stand in solidarity with our students, faculty and staff who identify as Asian and as part of the Asian diaspora.

We, as a community, have a responsibility to not just speak out in defiance of identity-based violence, but to work hard to create an environment where everyone feels safe and welcome. I encourage all of us to reach out to each other and help one another in any way we can. You can find educational resources on the RISD SEI website and if you need support, please do not hesitate to get in touch with any of the offices below.

Intercultural Student Engagement

Counseling and Psychological Services

Student Affairs

Employee Support
AllOne, Employee Assistance
Confidential counseling and referral/resources
24-hours a day at 800-451-1834

Rosanne Somerson, President