Please join the faculty and staff of Rutgers SEBS for an information session on our Coverdell Program on September 23, 2021 6-7:30pm. For more information, please visit our Coverdell Fellowship Page.
What Can I Do?
4 ways to support the Asian American Community (for Asian Americans and allies)
- Support & Study: Anti-Asian racism is not new, and our communities are resilient
- Learn about Asian American history and connect to our communities and friends
- Check in with each other – with your close friends and family
- Show Up & Listen: Connect with Asian Americans in very real ways
- Demonstrate support and show that Asian Americans are seen and heard and are supported and valued
- Listen and do not judge when AAPI communities share their experiences
- Donate your time, talent, or money to organizations fighting anti-Asian racism
- Speak Out:
- Contact your representatives
- Go to myreps.datamade.us to find out who your representatives are
- Ask what they are doing to denounce anti-Asian racism and racial violence
- Ask how they are working to keep BIPOC communities in their districts safe
- Talk to your families and communities and hold each other accountable in stopping AAPI hate
- Contact your representatives
- Step In: Attend free trainings on how to respond to anti-Asian harassment at ihollaback.org
- Trainings on “How to Respond to Anti-Asian/American Harassment When It Happens to You”
- Bystander trainings, useful for all situations where active allyship is required, along with a bystander guide.
(Adapted from UNC-Chapel Hill’s Asian American Center)
Unpacking Hate (session recording and various resources) provided by Rutgers Office of the Senior Vice President for Equity
Becoming Anti-Racist Resource List provided by Rutgers Division of Diversity, Inclusion, and Community Engagement
Resource List Specific to AAPI Communities provided by the Association for Asian Studies
Anti-Racism Seminar: Asian Students’ Experiences Webinar hosted by the SEBS Office of International Programs
Hollaback! Online Workshops
Aparna M Zama is an undergraduate program director and an assistant teaching professor in the Department of Animal Sciences.
When I first arrived in the U.S in the month of August (as a graduate student enrolled in a Ph.D program), I walked into my first class and saw these sights: The professor was wearing a pair of shorts, a “Hawaiian” shirt, and flip-flops and he was using some “naughty” words in his lectures. I remember thinking “that’s my professor?!” In India, I grew up with professors wearing very formal clothes and being very staid. So, this professor’s attitude was refreshing and fun. I learnt a lot in that Molecular Genetics class! On the flip side- the students were no less: some of them were sitting with their feet up on the desks and eating snacks and asking questions from a seated position. I was shocked! Weren’t the students supposed to be more respectful and bow a little when they stand up to ask questions? Turns out that the sense of freedom and lack of hierarchy freed me from my shell, and I became more comfortable with my environment. That first day will forever be memorable to me!
Loredana Quadro is a professor in the Department of Food Science.
When I first arrived in the US for my postdoctoral training at Columbia University, more than twenty years ago, I remember being in a taxi, riding towards New York City, and being struck by the colors of the surroundings. It was a day in early March of an extremely cold winter, everything around me was brown and grey, from the trees to the majestic buildings of the city. I am from Napoli, in southern Italy, a wonderful place by the sea where the winter is never so cold or so long, the sky is always blue and so is the sea in the gulf. I had just arrived in the most sought city in the world, but I truly did not like it. I was very disappointed, and I said to myself “I am not going to stay here”.
Then, there was the cultural shock and the language barrier. It may sound strange but before coming to the US I had never met, let alone had a friend from a different country, religion or ethnicity. It was very intimidating for me. Not to mention when I tried the pizza in the hope to find some comfort food….For the first six months after my arrival, I never took the clothes out of my suitcases. It gave me a sense of security thinking that I was ready to leave, anytime. It took me a while, but I ultimately fell in love with New York and the infinite possibility that living in the US had to offer to a young woman who wanted to become a scientist. Twenty-five years later, I am still here, happy and thankful for the great opportunity I had to realize my dream.
Chitra Ponnusamy is a director of the undergraduate program in Food Science and a teaching instructor.
I landed in the US in the Y2K era with my 3-month old daughter from India. Upon landing, I was very curious to see how my husband could drive on the right side of the road instead of the left. It seemed scary to me back then!
I was absolutely fascinated with the Starbucks ready-to-drink coffee in a bottle (!), available in large packs. It became my first favorite grocery staple. Back in India, we always have freshly brewed coffee and tea and never bottled. Cheesecake (minus the crust!) came next in line (was I indeed thrilled to see an eggless brand in California), inspired by my first American TV show- Golden Girls. Its taste reminded me of Shrikhand, an Indian creamy, tangy dairy dessert.
My first teaching experience was in a private, religious school in Houston, Texas, as a middle school science teacher. I prepared for the first day of teaching on Metals with total perfection (or so, I thought). After a few minutes of ice-breaker brief introductions, I said aloud- so, today we shall start learning about the metal- aluminium– and I turned to write aluminum on the board. I heard a loud voice- what “ium” is that? The class burst into laughter, I quickly realized and joined in the laughter. Another student said- my father goes to London a lot and he says people say aluminium there, not aluminum. I said yes, in India we are taught British English. That lightened my first moments a lot and made me comfortable with the students quickly.
Many such laughter moments (biscuits vs cookies, corridor vs hallway, lift vs elevator, ground floor vs first floor, ………) turned out to be my learning moments😊. I learned (vs learnt) my first lessons from my students!
Even today, I find myself typing oesophagus– many thanks to my Biology and Physiology instructors (Sir/Miss/Teacher/Madam) for the good job they have done and to spell check in Word, for letting me know to remove the “o” before the e in esophagus. My daughter can switch between speaking English with a South Indian accent just like me and American accent- this keeps me wondering at large. When I visit India and I walk on the roads, my nephew reminds me- you know, here you can walk on any side of the road, not just on the right!
At Rutgers, I met with Dr. Aparna Zama, in a committee meeting and very soon learned we studied in the same high school in Chennai, a city in South India. We did not know each other back then. It is a small world, indeed.