The Office of Institutional Diversity hosted an Asian American and Pacific Islander Faculty, Staff and Student Check-in on Zoom Thursday, Nov. 4. 

Angela Webster, the chief diversity officer at UCA, began the event with a message for Asian American and Pacific Islander members of the UCA community. 

“One of the reasons for this gathering is to let you all know that we love you and we appreciate your contributions to the campus,” Webster said. 

The guest speaker for the event was Joshua Ang Price, an Election Commissioner for Pulaski County. 

Price started by discussing immigrant experiences and why immigrant stories are so important to share. 

“No matter where we are from, we are all in America now. We are here for freedom and to make a better life for ourselves and our families. These stories are important because they are part of who we are. It is a part of our culture and our history,” Price said. 

Price discussed two recent Asian hate crimes that occured in Hot Springs, Arkansas. 

In one hate crime, an Asian man was standing outside of Oaklawn in Hot Springs when an intoxicated fire captain from Bentonville threatened him and physically assaulted him. 

The fire captain was sentenced to only 60 days in jail, which was the harshest sentence that he could’ve been given. 

In the other hate crime, a man went into a Pho restaurant with knives and a machine gun and threatened to shoot up the store because he suspected the store owners were running a child sex-traffiking ring. 

“I was very vocal in speaking out against these incidents. There is no law in Arkansas that specifically addresses hate crimes,” Price said. 

Price explained that he and other advocates tried to fight for a hate crimes bill in Arkansas, but they weren’t completely successful. 

“We got a watered down version of a hate crimes bill that lacks any specificities,” Price said. 

Price discussed ways in which people can respond to anti-asian hate when they witness it. 

“With the rise in anti-asian hate that we’ve seen in the past year, it is important for everybody to call out racism when they hear it or see it,” Price said. 

Price spoke about the racism that many Asian Americans have faced since the COVID-19 pandemic, with phrases such as the “wuhan flu” and the “china virus” being commonly used in America. 

Price explained how it is easy for people to blame certain communities for difficult issues instead of figuring out who is really responsible. 

“It’s important for allies to call out that behavior as well. That is the only way we can get ahead of this and stop these things from happening,” Price said. 

Price also encouraged Asian Americans to get involved in their local communities so that they can be represented. 

“We have to be active members of our community. We have to be seen and we have to be heard. I would urge each of you, if you’re not civically engaged, to get engaged in some way,” Price said. 

At the end of the Zoom session, Price shared multiple educational resources with attendees. 

Price encouraged students to email him at joshua.ang.price@gmail.com if they want access to additional resources or have any questions about how to support Asian American communities and the fight against anti-Asian hate. 

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