APIA community must first unite itself, then reach out

To the Daily:

A few students have raised concerns that certain student groups have jumped to conclusions in condemning the accused after the alleged hate incident of Sept. 15. This is false. Records show we have but asked for punishment befitting the heinous act if the allegations are proven true by the ongoing investigation. Notwithstanding the outcome, however, this incident has inspired us to begin a collective movement against racism, discrimination and the general climate of intolerance. Popular stereotypes portray Asian and Pacific Islander Americans as being sheltered from discrimination, but that is simply not the case. Racism against APIAs is indeed prevalent. Since Sept. 15, the huge outpouring of support from fellow APIAs has underscored the depth with which discrimination has affected their past and present. Few are fortunate enough to avoid this harassment. Most are not, and the only recourse for many is to segregate themselves from the student community as a whole. We are working to build a coalition that will include all members of the University in an alliance to fight against this climate of intolerance. Our nascent movement has already engaged students – both undergraduate and graduate – in addition to University faculty, staff and alumni. The problem is that any movement of this nature may seem exclusive because the fragmented APIA community must first unite and strengthen itself before expanding its scope to include the entire University community. Regardless, we still encourage everyone to come out, share their thoughts and help transform diversity from a frail bureaucratic ideal to something worthy of the Michigan name.

Eric Li

LSA sophomore

The letter writer is a member of APIA Change.


Congressman grateful for Raoul Wallenberg’s actions

To the Daily:

I was delighted to see that The Michigan Daily remembered one of the University’s most distinguished alumni, Raoul Wallenberg (State honors ‘U’ alum who saved lives in Holocaust, 10/5/2005).

As one of the tens of thousands who survived thanks to Wallenberg’s bold efforts in Budapest in 1944, I am glad that his work continues to be recognized and honored at his alma mater.

But I would like to correct an important inaccuracy in the article: Raoul Wallenberg was seized by Soviet troops in eastern Hungary not in October 1945, but in January. We marked the 60th anniversary of his disappearance on Jan. 17 of this year.

Today was the 24th anniversary of the signing, by former President Ronald Reagan in 1981, of my legislation making Raoul Wallenberg an honorary American citizen – the second person after Sir Winston Churchill to be so honored by the United States. Just as Wallenberg gave Swedish Schutzpasse (protective passports) to Hungarian Jews in an effort to save their lives, we hoped that honorary American citizenship would give our government an opportunity to press the Soviet government for information about his status in the Soviet gulag. Unfortunately, we have never received from the Soviet or the Russian governments a full and complete account of his imprisonment.

My legislation also established Oct. 5 as a national Raoul Wallenberg Recognition Day. As your story correctly noted, Michigan marked the day this year with a proclamation by Gov. Jennifer Granholm.

Tom Lantos

The letter writer is a Democratic Congressman from California

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