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A Message from Dean Ruger on Anti-Asian Racism and Violence

March 03, 2021

Dear Law School community,

In the past year, the challenges of the pandemic have been exacerbated by our country’s reckoning with racial injustice, including the disturbing and intolerable resurgence of discrimination and violence against Asian and Asian American individuals. Such hate is not new, but it has been inflamed by false and racist rhetoric associating COVID-19 with people of Asian descent. It has targeted some of the most vulnerable members of the Asian community, including the elderly, as well as members of our own Law School community.

We join the University, Penn Law APALSA and SALSA, and many others in denouncing anti-Asian violence, and we steadfastly support those harmed by racism and violence. As a law school, we have a unique responsibility in shaping how the law can be used as a tool to create a meaningful, anti-racist future, and that action is needed now more than ever.

To that end, we are convening a conversation that will explore the history of anti-Asian violence, examine its grim escalation, and discuss opportunities to support impacted communities. We have invited Cecillia Wang, deputy legal director at the national ACLU and director of the Center for Democracy to join us on Monday, March 8 at 5pm EST. Wang, who was our distinguished guest during Public Interest Week 2018, is a leading advocate in the fight to end racist scapegoating and anti-Asian discrimination. She will share her expertise as we examine the root causes of this hate and violence and work to advance equity and justice. I invite all members of our community to join us for this important conversation. You can RSVP here as well as submit questions for discussion.

We offer our support to those impacted by violence. The University’s Special Services team is available 24/7 at 215-898-6600 or via email at Anti-Asian hate or bias incidents should be reported to the University’s Task Force on Support to Asian and Asian American Students and Scholars, established in April in response to these mounting attacks against our community. As always, our Student Affairs team is also available to support any Law student in need.

The Law School continues to stand with our AAPI community members as we work together to combat racism, violence, and discrimination in all forms.



Please find the recorded session from the March 8th “Examining the Current Escalation of Anti-Asian Racism with Cecillia Wang” event below.