A message from Dean Douglas Elmendorf

To the HKS Community,

We are deeply saddened by the deadly shootings in the Atlanta area yesterday.

While we do not know the true motivations of the gunman, six of the eight people who were killed were of Asian descent and seven of the eight were women. We condemn all acts of violence, hatred, and discrimination, including those based on gender and ethnicity. As HKS’s Office of Diversity, Inclusion, and Belonging discussed in this month’s newsletter, the United States is experiencing a wave of anti-Asian racism and violence, with reports of verbal and physical attacks at a high level. Moreover, sexism and violence against women are all too common, in this country and others.

Such acts of violence harm everyone and should have no place in our society. As Keisha Lance Bottoms, the mayor of Atlanta, said today: “A crime against any community is a crime against us all.” All of us at Harvard Kennedy School must commit ourselves to fighting oppression and to achieving a more just world where all people’s rights and dignity are honored. Indeed, many HKS faculty members, staff members, and students devote their time and skills to fighting injustice; you can access recent examples of that work on our public website here and here.

For anyone looking for personal support now, Harvard and HKS have a number of resources for wellness and self-care, some of which can be found on Knet here. For educational resources on anti-Asian racism, see the Race and Ethnicity section of the Harvard Library Diversity, Inclusion, and Belonging Collection, a webpage of the Harvard Women in Tech + Allies group, and the Knet Diversity Portal. For educational resources on advancing gender equity, see the Gender Action Portal of HKS’s Women and Public Policy Program and research on the global prevalence and costs of gendered violence. Additionally, this Friday from 4 p.m. to 5 p.m., there will be an online space for Asian American and Pacific Islander members of the HKS community and their allies to gather and support one another; please register here.

With our profound sympathy for all who are suffering from injustice and violence,

Doug Elmendorf, Dean
Iris Bohnet, Academic Dean
Robbin Chapman, Associate Dean for Diversity, Inclusion and Belonging
Debbie Isaacson, Senior Associate Dean for Degree Programs and Student Affairs
Janney Wilson, Executive Dean