[UPDATE] Marpe, Scarice Speaks Out On Anti-Asian Violence

1st Selectman Jim Marpe says:

I am heartbroken by the recent surge in the despicable acts that are targeting members of the Asian American and Pacific Island community. An attack on any is an attack on all that we hold dear as a community that embraces inclusiveness in how we govern, and in how we interact with our neighbors. I wholeheartedly condemn such violence.

Town Hall flags fly at half staff, in memory of the victims of the Atlanta shooting. (Courtesy of Town of Westport/Facebook)

We celebrate diversity in this community, and we do all that we are able to insure everyone, residents and workforce alike, feels safe, secure, and welcome in Westport.

Together, we must support and encourage programs and policies that include frank discussions on race and inclusivity. By doing so, we will come to a better understanding and open acceptance of our unique personal qualities. We accept and honor every aspect of the human experience that makes us members of a civil society.

To that end, I will request that the Board of Selectmen approve a resolution condemning the hate and violence against Asian-Pacific Americans at its regular meeting scheduled for Wednesday, March 24.

Superintendent of Schools Thomas Scarice says:

Like many of you, I felt great sorrow over the tragic events in Atlanta last week.  I made a prepared statement for the Board of Education meeting this evening.  However, after receiving a number of heartfelt emails over the weekend, I was moved to share my comments with the school community prior to the meeting.

The unspeakable act of violence in Atlanta last week was yet another reminder of the chasm between our world today, and the ideal of the world we envision.  The violent loss of life, of any life, is destructive to what we aspire to be as a nation, and to what we aim to build as neighbors.

The Westport Public Schools stands with all communities in denouncing all forms of violence, racism, and xenophobia. The commitment of our district is to embrace and respect all people, while creating inclusive school environments where all students and adults feel a strong sense of belonging, affiliation, and connection.

This work takes commitment from all levels of the school community. On behalf of the Board of Education, and the faculty and staff, I want to affirm that as we stand beside all members of our community, that we particularly show support for our brothers and sisters in the Asian American community, which has experienced a tragic increase in acts of violence and hatred.

Our district has made a strong commitment to ensuring that each and every student and adult is treated with dignity and feels an abiding sense of belonging.  We continue this work as we engage in an equity study, pushing us to confront our practices and to ensure that we are doing our part to make this a more equitable and peaceful world.

By collaborating with community groups, initiating school based equity teams, and working with our curriculum coordinators to incorporate the appropriate discussion of these topics in our classrooms, the Westport Public Schools can successfully make all those in our schools feel welcome, while preparing our students for the diversity of the modern world.

Although our flags fly at half mast in remembrance of those lost in an horrific act of violence, let us not forget that it is in the day to day work of our schools, the incremental steps we take, that we see the most profound change and progress over time.

6 responses to “[UPDATE] Marpe, Scarice Speaks Out On Anti-Asian Violence

  1. Excuse me Mr. Scarice

    Your comments about Anti Asian racism based on the horrible Atlanta killings appears a rush to judgement and trying to make this analogy with the unsubstantiated event causes is a new incitement of a non cultural condition that is not deserving of the new WOKE reactions claiming systemic Asian racism that are are racing thru the media.

    It really appears as of now that this was a young mans demented belief that all asian massage parlors are anti christian and operated by evil people who must be stopped. Since apparently most massage establishments in this area of Atlanta are owned and operated by Asians his choice of massage businesses would lead him to Asian victims not as a race but as perveyors of the evil acts he thought were taking place there.

    As an educator and with your obvious strong influence on the younger minds of school age children you must be careful that the cause and effect you impart with your commentary is based on proven factual information and not just current social perceptions.


  2. Jack Pullman

    There is absolutely zero proof that the Atlanta shootings were motivated by anti-Asian hatred or white supremacy — even the FBI has said so. The shooter targeted sex workers. If we want to put our flags at half mast to stand in solidarity with sex workers, that’s fine, I’m all for it — but let’s not re-write history to fit a convenient woke narrative.

    • There is a lot to unpack about the admitted shooter in Atlanta, and facts continue to get uncovered as the investigation continues. What seems to be widely known is that he was struggling with sex addiction.

      But here’s where a dangerous leap was made by the shooter, and others that want to pin this crime to solely to a non-racial cause. The killer wanted to “remove temptation”, and made conclusions that massage parlors were a source of sex-related activity. He then went specifically to Asian massage parlors (which were not under any investigation for sex-related illegal activity, according to news sources), and targeted the workers there. We will learn more as time comes, but both Mr. Pullman and the shooter made an implicit connection that Asian massage businesses and employees are all sex workers. I would also like to note that Mr. Broady’s statement above also points out the shooters assumption that “Asians are anti-Christian” because they own and operate massage businesses.

      Did the shooter actually visit these locations previously? Did he actually witness or partake in sex-related activities at these locations? Or did he just look up asian-owned massage parlors thinking that there was a good chance that he was going to find a high percentage of anti-christian sex workers. We are making some very general statements here to explain away the violence where the location was chosen because it had a high-likelihood of Asian women being present.

      This is why we cannot lean on the explanation that the killer was not racist. Even if the underlying primary cause was not racism, he utilized a thought process that was inherently racist and misogynist to find his victims.

  3. Constance Chien

    Unfortunately this is all a tangled web. The hypersexualization of Asian women is connected to US imperialism in Asia, which is, in turn, inextricably linked to anti-Asian sentiment in the U.S. (more to read here: https://www.buzzfeednews.com/article/tanyachen/asian-women-fetish-racist-atlanta-shootings)

    And even if you want to squabble over the details of what *exactly* motivated this shooter, you cannot deny that anti-Asian hate crimes have risen by 150% in 2020 while overall hate crimes have dropped by 7 percent. Asian elders are afraid to leave their house. And I (an Asian woman in her twenties) have personally been the victim of multiple verbal aggressions since the start of the pandemic.

  4. That “150%” rise in hate crimes against Asians is a direct result of the racist hideousness Trump has left us; along with untold other Trump family trespasses against decency and our democratic republic….thank your Republican neighbor.

  5. Rosie Curtis

    There was enough evidence that this was a racially motivated hate crime. The victims were mothers, grandmothers, daughters and sisters, NOT “sex workers”, targeted for the fact they were Asian – the other non-Asian victims were the Spa customers who unfortunately couldn’t escape the scene while the shooter ruthlessly performed his evil act. This information comes from actual witnesses of the tragedy. Regardless, this event is only the cork that has opened up the bottle that has been bubbling up from the alarming increase in racial attacks against Asians. I appreciate our Selectman, town leaders and WPS Superintendent, Tom Scarice’s response, which came with great thoughtfulness and empathy. I am hopeful that it will inspire many Westport parents and students to be kind and choose love by the simple act of standing alongside any vulnerable brother/sister who’s deeply in pain. It took courage to show support for a community that is hurting. Our Asian children are asking, “Is my grandparent safe?” Westport cares, let’s all stand together in unity, making sure EVERYONE feels safe and seen.