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A Note from Raymond Firmalino, Assistant Director of the Yale Asian American Cultural Center


These are turbulent times, but the state-sponsored hate we are witnessing is not new to our community. Our ancestors in our respective countries and in the United States have faced violence, discrimination, and persecution long before this administration was an idea. Given the strength pulsing through our bloodlines, I draw hope from examples of resistance, brilliance, ingenuity, courage and solidarity our elders offer, and from our contemporary scholars and activists.

I must tell you that as an immigrant with citizenship in the U.S. and the Philippines (a nation with a sizable Muslim population), as the son of working-class immigrants, as someone in a brown, queer body, this is a profoundly personal moment for me. So if you are feeling pain, uncertainty or anger, I want you to know I see you and I am with you, even if we haven’t met yet.

The executive order is nothing short of an insult to the dignity of our Muslim brothers and sisters. However, it is not, by any stretch of the imagination, solely a “Muslim issue,” nor a conversation concerning just the seven Muslim-majority nations in the middle east and Africa the executive order targets. Asia is home to 65 percent of the world’s Muslims, and Indonesia, in the Southeast, is the world’s most populous Muslim country. The current climate of Islamophobia likely impacts those who affiliate with an Asian and Asian American heritage as well.

This immoral and unconstitutional act is an affront to all of us, and insults the values the AACC stands for and pursues every day. As we learn more about the details of the order, if you, a relative or friend may be affected by this order, please reconsider traveling outside of the United States and contact the Office of International Students and Scholars for guidance on your individual situation.

We must show up for those in the Muslim community, our own community, and throughout our campus and globally to sustain a commitment to justice, peace and democratic governance. As we move forward, please seek assistance and use the resources that are available to you. When those around you are running on empty, fill them up, and ask for help if you need it. And if you have a Muslim brother or sister in your midst, offer your support or let them tell you what that support looks like.


I will hold office hours on Wednesday and Friday this week.  Students: Talk to your PLs, FroCos, deans, advisors, mentors. Visit Yale Health (203.432.0290), the Chaplain’s Office (203.432.1128), Office of International Students & Scholars (203.432.2305), and Integrated Refugee & Immigrant Services (IRIS), the Yale Cultural Centers and of course, the AACC. We are all here for you.


Tuesday, 1/31 5:30 – 6:30: AACC Post-Inauguration Listening Session #1. Wednesday 2/1  from  2 – 4: Office Hours with Ray (open to students, staff and faculty) Thursday, 2/2 from 7 – 9pm:  Teach-In on Muslim Ban Humanitarian Crisis, Featuring Bruce Knotts Friday, 2/3 from 2 – 4: Office Hours with Ray (open to students, staff and faculty)


At 6pm tonight at Cross Campus, there will be a vigil in support of refugees and immigrants, and at 7p, there will be a benefit concert for IRIS (Integrated Refugee and Immigrant Services) in Battell Chapel.


You are beautiful and worthy of every ounce of joy and love this life offers. Keep resisting. Keep fighting.

In compassion, solidarity, and resolve, Ray

Raymond Firmalino, Assistant Director of the Asian American Cultural Center (AACC) at Yale University

ACADEMICS AGAINST IMMIGRATION EXECUTIVE ORDER: Faculty, post-doctoral students and doctoral students may consider signing this open letter drafted against this executive order. It aims to show the opposition of the academic community to the new measure and hopes to prevent it going forward. The letter is here:



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