Letter from the Chair

April 17, 2021 

Chair’s Letter 

I am saddened to again mourn the loss of eight lives in a mass shooting in Indianapolis on April 15, 2021. Although it is yet unknown whether this was a racially-motivated hate crime, four of the eight victims were Sikh Americans. This tragedy comes after the police killings of Adam Toledo, a 13-year old Latino youth on March 29, 2021 and of Daunte Wright, a 20-year old Black man on April 11, 2021. A month ago, we saw the murders of eight individuals (six of whom were Asian American women) in Atlanta. We are also in the midst of the trial for Derek Chauvin, who is accused of the murder of George Floyd, a Black man.  

I know many of us, especially those of us of color, are feeling frightened and anxious right now. Please know that as department chair I am thinking of you, as are my faculty and staff colleagues. As individuals, many of us are engaged in social justice work either as activists and/or as public scholars. As sociologists, we must continue our research on the important subjects of race, xenophobia, immigration, hate crimes, and the carceral state. Our work is more important than ever.  

With Much Love, 

Grace Kao 

Chair and IBM Professor of Sociology 

Professor of Ethnicity, Race, and Migration (by Courtesy) 

Faculty Director, Education Studies 

Director, Center for Empirical Research on Stratification and Inequality (CERSI)