"A single seed can turn into a forest. A single heart can transform a nation."

- Bryan Thao Worra, Notes Regarding the Living Heart
“Anti-Asian racism will not disappear after COVID-19 ends... Listen to what marginalized groups have to say and try empowering their voices to keep acknowledging, supporting and learning. To achieve racial equality, we need to get comfortable with uncomfortable conversations.”

Dear Westborough Connects Community,

As leaders and members of Westborough Connects, we are deeply saddened by the recent horrendous murders of six Asian American women in Atlanta. We express our condolences to the families and honor those individuals who lost their lives. During this traumatic time and always, Westborough Connects stands in solidarity with our Asian American and Pacific Islander (AAPI) friends, neighbors and community members. 

Through the work of Westborough Connects, our Inclusion and Diversity Committee, and in collaboration with my role as Chief Inclusion Officer, we will be exploring a variety of strategies to address racism in our community as well as hatred of any kind.

We invite you to join us in this work.

This recent shocking mass shooting has left many of our Asian and Asian American Pacific Islander (AAPI) friends, neighbors and community members feeling unsafe and unsure. Since the onset of the pandemic in 2020, the rise in hate incidents against Asian Americans has continued and has taken an emotional toll on our AAPI community. Though discrimination against Asian Americans is not new, it has escalated as a result of racist rhetoric and the “othering” of Asians during the pandemic. We recognize that racism and hatred can manifest in many different ways - through violence, but also through verbal attacks and ignoring, blaming or ostracizing the AAPI community. We ask you to join us in taking a stand against anti-Asian racism and hatred of any kind. 

At the heart of Westborough Connects, we believe in building a more resilient and kind community where everyone belongs. This is community wide work -- we cannot do it alone. Diversity, Equity and Inclusion are at the core of our values and to all our work, through respecting our differences and connecting through our shared humanity. Inclusion means a sense of feeling safe, supported, valued and seen for who we are. 

Further, Westborough Connects stands firmly against all aspects and forms of hate, bias, harassment and racism. We affirm our commitment to the work of anti racism through educational programs, resources and building meaningful and trusted relationships with members from diverse backgrounds and to serve the mission of the organization. 

This is a challenging moment- As we have conversations about rising hate against Asian descent and honor the six Asian American lives lost in Atlanta, in less than one week, we mourn the tragic loss of lives at horrific mass shooting at a Colorado store. Christine Chen of Boulder narrates to CPR News how this was more than just a store...rather a “neighborhood store” and how having to have these conversations all in the same afternoon was a heavy thing to bear. Many people in our caring community have been asking - What can we do? Based on conversations with members of the AAPI community, here are a few ideas: 

  • Reach out to your Asian American neighbors, friends, their families, and your colleagues to join together in affirming our intolerance for any racist words or actions. 

  • Specifically, you can take part in the Stop Anti-Asian Hate Rally this weekend in Westborough, organized by our valued partners, Westborough Chinese American Association. It will take place TOMORROW, Saturday 3/27/21 from 1:30 pm- 3:00 pm at East Main Street, near the Rotary. (HERE is the flyer.)

  • Lean into, listen to the voices of AAPI community members and learn ways to support as a caring neighbor and friend. 

  • Most importantly, stand up when something is said or done that is hurtful. We can do better. Everyone belongs.

  • Be warm and welcoming and find ways to connect through activities of common interest that support healing, community spirit and building safe neighborhoods. Or simply send a kind message or note or a simple gesture of care. 

  • Be humble and with an open heart and mind. Educate ourselves as a community- This work is not easy; It will lead to difficult and uncomfortable conversations. Nevertheless, we encourage you to continue to listen and discuss this with your families to try and make sense of these senseless acts. It is through these conversations that we can avoid normalizing these hate-driven attacks and heal as a community. 

Our Westborough Connects Leadership have and will continue to listen to our neighbors and friends from the AAPI community, learn, educate ourselves and further strengthen our relationships with community members to stand up against hate, racism and promote inclusion and justice. 

Above all, this work is about building a “Beloved Community.” Kindness is love in action. Below are some resources for taking action, and building awareness and kindness. If you have ideas or suggestions you would like to share, please email us at [email protected].

Further, Westborough Connects works in collaboration with many community organizations. We wanted to share Statements from some of our wonderful community partners who are doing this work with us side by side.

Westborough Connects values and respects our AAPI community members for their backgrounds, their history and embraces diversity, inclusion, kindness and justice. May the love that we share strengthen us all in these times. 

Warm Regards,
Heena Suratwala
Chief Inclusion Officer
Westborough Connects
(Pronouns: she/ her/ hers)
Take Action

Statements from Our Valued Community Partners

About Westborough Connects

Westborough Connects is a registered 501(c)3 nonprofit organization (EIN # 84-1751472) focused on building a more connected and kind community where everybody feels like they belong. Often in partnership with others, Westborough Connects creates opportunities to support and celebrate the diversity, spirit, and character of Westborough through programs and events that are community-based, strengths-based and dedicated to connecting people to resources and each other. Westborough Connects always welcomes new members and is dedicated to connecting people to resources and each other. Visit us at http://www.westboroughconnects.org

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