AFSA was initiated in fall 2003 by a small group of Asian faculty and staff who realized the need for an affinity group to advocate and network for its members, and function as a resource for the university community.  A Steering Committee and a Mission Statement were created to guide the work of the group. In spring 2004, an Award Program was established to recognize outstanding Asian students.

Statement on Atlanta Murders and Call to Our Allies

We are grieving, horrified, and outraged over the increase in anti-Asian violence in the United States and the avoidable tragedy of the murder of eight people, including six women of Asian descent, in Atlanta on March 16. These violent attacks pinpoint persistent racial discrimination and xenophobia in our society and reveal the complex intersectionality of race, gender, class, and immigration status.

Long before the Atlanta shooting, UWM Asian faculty, staff, and students were worried about the safety of themselves, their family, and friends, and called for solidarity against anti-Asian violence. Between March 19, 2020 and February 28, 2021, Stop AAPI Hate received reports of 3,795 incidents. In May 2020, AFSA issued a “Statement of Solidarity Against Anti-Asian Racism and Xenophobia”. One week before the Atlanta shooting, AFSA co-sponsored a panel, “Anti-Asian Violence During the COVID-19 Pandemic,” which covered a range of topics, including concrete actions against anti-Asian violence, the perniciousness of the “model minority myth” and the harm it does to Asian and other minoritized groups, and the institutions of white supremacy that fuels racism and discrimination against minority groups. Resources shared at that panel can be found here.

The Atlanta shooting demonstrates the consequences of rhetoric used and stereotypes perpetuated to describe women and the Asian community. There is an urgency for change and action to combat racism and xenophobia. AFSA is encouraged by the movement across the country and calls for action beyond written support at UWM.

Local communities and legislators have acted. Vigils and peaceful demonstrations against anti-Asian violence have took place across the country.[1] In Milwaukee, community leaders and city officials promptly acted to mourn the victims in the Atlanta shooting together outside of Milwaukee City Hall on March 18. On the same day, the House Committee on the Judiciary held a hearing on Discrimination and Violence Against Asian Americans.[2] On March 30, Biden announced actions to address violence against Asian Americans.

Locally and on campus, we call on allies and members of the UWM community to be in solidarity with the Asian community and to take action to learn about Asian American history, to become comfortable intervening in acts of overt aggression and microaggressions that impact Asian group members and members of other marginalized groups, engage in practices that disrupt the historic and institutional systems of oppression that give rise to these xenophobic actions, and to lend direct support to Asian business, individuals, and community organizations. We write in solidarity against anti-Asian racism and in multi-racial solidarity with our Black, Indigenous, Latinx, Muslim, immigrant, LGBTQIA, and other minoritized communities that have victims of violence. And we write in hopes that members of the UWM family will be empowered to speak out in defense of the safety and well-being our communities.

[1]  https://www.wsj.com/articles/protests-across-u-s-call-for-end-to-anti-asian-violence-11616273497
[2] Discrimination and Violence Against Asian Americans | U.S. House of Representatives Judiciary Committee

Endorsed by UWM’s Faculty Senate, FD 3328, unanimously on April 15, 2021.

AFSA signs the Coalition of Asian American Leaders (CAAL) statement and recognizes the interconnectedness of our struggles against systemic oppression

You may view CAAL’s statement here: https://caalmn.org/2020/05/29/api4georgefloyd/.

Statement of Solidarity Against Anti-Asian Racism and Xenophobia

The Asian Faculty and Staff Association at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee (AFSA), reaffirms our commitment to supporting and advocating for students, faculty, and staff of the Asian Diaspora as the coronavirus (COVID-19) global health pandemic impacts our community in unique ways.

Members of the Asian, Asian American, and Asian Pacific Islander community have experienced unique vulnerability as targets of racism and xenophobia as anxiety and fear over COVID-19 has spread over the past several months[1]. Locally, this vulnerability also comes at a time when social support and community comforts have been weakened, whether due to the loss of contact with peers to adhere with the important act of social distancing or closure of community fixtures such as local Asian restaurants and business. In the Milwaukee area, some have been forced to close due to racist attacks on their staff.

In the face of this vulnerability, AFSA resolutely writes in solidarity with UWM students, faculty, and staff against these acts. We support, and will advocate, for:

  • A campus and local community that is free of anti-Asian violence and racism,
  • Education and empowerment to rise above the rhetoric of anti-Asian sentiment that swirls around the local, national, and global conversations concerning the COVID-19 pandemic,
  • An official statement of intolerance of anti-Asian racism and xenophobia from the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee (including intolerance for derogatory references such as the “Wuhan” or “Chinese” virus, etc.),
  • Resources to support students, faculty, and staff members of the Asian and Asian American community directly impacted by racism incited by COVID-19, and
  • Equitable treatment of all marginalized communities disproportionately impacted by the COVID-19 virus.

In addition to rising anti-Asian sentiment, UWM students may face challenges around travel, leading some to remain separated from their families and loved ones overseas or unable to return to the U.S. to complete work related to their degree programs. We reaffirm our support for students impacted by these unique challenges and support the excellent work of various campus partners who provide resources for students in navigating these challenges, including the Center for International Education.

We urge our students, colleagues, and community members at UWM to act with concern and compassion for those who have been directly and indirectly impacted by the COVID-19 virus. We write in solidarity with those who are working to develop effective medical treatments and methods of curbing the rates of infection and with those working to support diverse communities.

To learn more about coronavirus-related racism and xenophobia, please see this resource compiled by Dr. Jason Oliver Chang. Resources for individuals experiencing acts of violence or harassment can be found at Asian Americans Advancing Justice; their website also contains information about intervening as a bystander. Reports of incidents at UWM can be made through the Equity/Diversity Services office.

[1] The national clearinghouse “Stop AAPI Hate” has collected 1700 incident reports over six weeks, Asian Pacific Planning & Policy Council.

Statement released Friday, May 29, 2020.


AFSA seeks to advance the scholastic and civic interests of its members by providing opportunities to:

  • work collaboratively across disciplines to plan and conduct research;
  • promote partnerships with community-based organizations for research and evaluation activities;
  • serve as a consultant to the UWM community on academic, sociocultural, climate, and faculty/staff/student issues;
  • encourage and reward the scholastic achievement and community participation of UWM Asian and Asian American students; and
  • network and socialize.
For more information about AFSA, please send an email to AFSA Co-Chairs Yuko Kojima (kojima@uwm.edu) and Natalie Chin (chinn@uwm.edu).