In Community, Solidarity, and Support
February 02, 2023
We, members of the Westphal community, with roots, family, friends, and colleagues in California or who belong to the Asian American Pacific Islander community, and the dance community share in the grief and pain suffered by our fellow humans in Monterey Park and Half Moon Bay. Our hearts and prayers go out to the dance communities so profoundly impacted by the recent mass shootings.
Dance is a place where people come to find community and identity through shared embodied experiences. We believe that dance is a healing art and are saddened by the incomprehensible violence to this community. We hope that the healing power of dance brings them back together in connection and joy soon.
The loss of life on lunar new year weekend is yet a new tragedy upon the Asian and Pacific Islander community in the United States, layered on the disproportionate societal impact of COVID and the anti-Asian hate that escalated as a result. We release this statement to our community to recognize that we have within our midst faculty, staff, and students who have these tragedies closer to mind and heavier in the heart.
We recognize that many Asian American households are multigenerational and that our students may have been called upon at an early age to take on the role of translator and even "protector" of their elders because of necessity. It can be particularly triggering to see our Asian elders specifically targeted with violence as they have been during this pandemic and at the same time not being able to do anything to protect them from these heinous acts.
Whether it is a concern of how an individual may be perceived or treated because of the demographics of the alleged perpetrator, or whatever else this may trigger in our consciousness, we want everyone to know that while we do not have the answers or solutions, we are here ready to be in community, to listen or to just share space in silence, to share the grief and fear of the implications of these events on our communities.
If you feel that you have been impacted by these recent events, resources and support are available through Drexel University:
- Drexel University's Counseling Center offers counseling and mental health services to students, both on campus and remotely. Visit the Counseling Center’s website for details.
- Benefits-eligible Drexel University faculty and professional staff can access mental health resources through the Employee Assistance Program, which offers confidential, 24/7 counseling with a licensed professional in person or virtually. Learn more about the Employee Assistance Program here.
For those who are interested in learning more about the impact of these shootings on the Asian Pacific Islander American community:
Francis Aguas, Associate Dean of Diversity, Equity & Inclusion
Ann Gerondelis, Department Head, Department of Design
Miriam Giguere, PhD, Professor of Dance, Department Head, Department of Performing Arts
Dr. Joseph H. Hancock II, Professor, Program Director MS. Retail & Merchandising
June He, Assistant Professor, Product Design
Blanca Huertas-Agnew, Interim Dance Program Director
Valerie Ifill, Assistant Professor, Dance; Director, Community Based Learning
Jaeyoon Jeong, Associate Teaching Professor, Fashion Design
Tsz Kwok, Director of Academic Administration and Director of Multicultural and Equity Affairs
Frank J. Lee, Professor, Digital Media; Director, Entrepreneurial Game Studio
Jennifer Morley, Associate Teaching Professor, Drexel Pilates Training Program Director
Olive Prince, Dance Ensemble and FreshDance Director; Adjunct Assistant Professor
Alesa Rubendall, Assistant Teaching Professor and Associate Director of Student Placement, Architecture
Jihyun Song, Associate Teaching Professor, Interior Design
Neville Vakharia, Associate Dean of Research & Planning
Pamela Yau, Assistant Teaching Professor and Thesis Director, Arts Administration & Museum Leadership
Shushi Yoshinaga, Associate Professor, Graphic Design