Anti-Racist Practices and Community Inclusion

As part of the social justice mission of San Francisco State University, the Department of Creative Writing centers anti-oppressive, anti-racist pedagogies and practices. All of our individual and collective identities, differences, similarities and intersectionalities bring opportunities for discussion, learning and radical empathy in the classroom. We of the SF State Department of Creative Writing are committed to the proliferation and visibility of BIPOC and LGBTQ+ voices and perspectives. We welcome discussions about how writing and literature can actively serve to create empathy and dismantle damaging power structures, hierarchies, stereotypes and other dehumanizing forms of marginalization that exist in society. We strive to create a departmental environment free of racism, anti-Blackness, colorism, Islamophobia, anti-Semitism, sexism, heterosexism, transphobia, fatphobia, ageism, ableism, classism, xenophobia, prejudice against immigrants of any status or any other discrimination. This statement is not geared toward censoring what we read or write, but rather toward working together to create the world we envision through our writing and through the community we foster in the classroom.

With the rise of Anti-Asian hate and violence during the pandemic, we know members in this community have been feeling fear, sadness, and anger. Many have also expressed feeling isolated. Knowing there is so much our students are feeling, we offer you some resources that can get you involved to stop AAPI hate.

Before our break, there was a murder of 8 individuals in Atlanta -- a horrific act of racialized misogyny. Throughout the nation--and particularly here in the Bay Area--there has been a significant increase in anti-Asian hate. Between March 2020 and February 2021, 3,800 anti-Asian hate incidents occurred nationwide, according to a recent report by Stop AAPI Hate, with nearly 44% occurring in California, and nearly a quarter taking place in the Bay Area. Many of the most heartbreaking incidents involve seniors who were beaten and even killed while walking in their neighborhoods. Nearly 70% of these incidents have targeted AAPI women

While these attacks are recent, anti-Asian hate, racism, and violence are deeply embedded in U.S. history. Federal policies such as the Page Act of 1875 and the Chinese Exclusion Act of 1882, founded on intersectional racist/sexist ideologies and fueled by “yellow peril” rhetoric, were spread by politicians and newspapers over a century ago, just as the COVID19 pandemic has been used today. 

Here are ways you can support members of our SF State community and AAPIs where you live:

  1. Speak up and condemn anti-Asian hate, racism, and violence 
  2. Report incidents of anti-Asian attacks to the SF State Bias Incident Education Team and  on Stop AAPI Hate's website
  3. Protect yourself when faced with discrimination and/or speak up for others as a bystander: Hollaback is hosting several trainings on bystander intervention
  4. Learn about the history of discrimination faced by the AAPI community – PBS’s documentary Asian Americans is currently streaming for free
  5. Stand in solidarity with other communities of color and white allies to combat racism and white supremacy together. Protests and marches are happening all across the U.S.
  6. Consider attending an ASPIRE program at SF State.

For teaching resources, please refer to this guide, being developed by CEETL in collaboration with Asian American Studies: Teaching in Days After Anti-Asian Violence Guide

Dear Students,

I am wishing you some peace during spring break in the aftermath of the recent murders in Atlanta. Sadly, we know that literature and the arts have both worked against and fed a reduction of the humanity, power, and complexity of Asian and Pacific Islander women, of sex workers, of women perceived to be sex workers, of women, of immigrants, and working-class women.

Below please find an interview with the Director of the School of Cinema, Celine Perrenas Shimizu, in which she talks about her work and the history of fetishizing Asian women in Cinema, in addition to the other resources.

We need all of us to reach beyond the hurtful, familiar tropes--to labor into territories that aren't already scripted by historically oppressive and reductive structures.  Please talk to your instructors and/or me if you need further resources to successfully continue your studies.  You are in our hearts and minds, as are the women murdered in Atlanta and their friends and families.

Sincerely, Nona Caspers, Creative Writing Department Chair

Beginning in the Fall of 2021, Creative Writing is now able to offer the Bernice Ruben Arnold Scholarship! This scholarship is to assist the Creative Writing Department in its desire to diversify its graduate student body through its promotion and recruitment of people from under-served communities. This scholarship is offered to incoming graduate M.F.A. candidates through the application review process.

Dear Creative Writing Community,

As writers, teachers, and human beings, the creative writing faculty and I send our heartfelt support to our Black students, to Black writers in the Bay Area and beyond, as well as to the Black Lives Matter movement and conversation.

In response to the long history of state-sanctioned murder of Black people, the Creative Writing Department supports the protests in the Bay Area, across the U.S., and world. We commit to working toward anti-racism for our BIPOC and all students.  Now and always.

We recognize that institutions historically were designed to support patriarchy and white supremacy, and in this light we must continue asking ourselves questions. We have a lot of work to do—we are a work-in-progress—and we welcome your feedback.

Some questions we must continue asking:

  • How do structures, policies, practices at the University, college and department level aid and abet the system of white supremacy?
  • What have we been doing and what could we do more of to recognize and dismantle entrenched policies and practices that result in anti-black racism and other forms of exclusion?
  • What decisions could we make to counter the story of white supremacy?
  • What are some concrete ways we can further support our Black, Indigenous, and POC students?
  • What are the concrete ways we can support the Black Lives Matter movement and conversation?

We bring our ignorance, our privileges, our ongoing questions. We also bring our hearts and good will. And the three bones of the inner ear.

  • This is an ongoing conversation, but as a starting point we renew our commitment to:
  • hiring more Black, Indigenous, and people of color on as lecturers and professors, and to continue to press the University to prioritize the hiring and retention of BIPOC faculty.
  • bringing BIPOC and/or LGBTQIA voices to our campus
  • pressing the college and university to widen outreach to BIPOC and/or LGBTQIA students, and to ourselves buoy our efforts to mentor BIPOC undergraduate students to succeed and prepare for graduate programs.
  • creating a new CW scholarship for BIPOC students.
  • continuing our multi-voiced Student-Faculty Working group to talk about pedagogy and community inclusion.

Please find below local resources for our Black students and all of our students who seek support, ongoing self-care and community. Also listed are ways to finance and strengthen organizations that support black and brown communities—including donating time and supporting bail funds in our city and beyond.

CW supports all non-violent reinventions of the world wholeheartedly. WE LOVE TO VOTE.

I wish you well, and more well.


Nona Caspers, Chair of Creative Writing



Please find below local resources for our Black students and all of our students who seek support, ongoing self-care and community. Also listed are ways to finance and strengthen organizations that support black and brown communities—including donating time and supporting bail funds in our city and beyond.

SF State Resources for Black Students Tarshel Beards is the Director of the Black Unity Center. Students should feel free to reach out to her should they need help, referrals, or to chat. Email:

Counseling and Psychological Services Student Services Building room 208

Disability Resource Center Student Services Building room 110,

Student Health Services Located between Burk Hall and the Ethnic Studies/Psychology Building,

Basic Needs

  • AS Gator Groceries food pantry: Free pre-made meal boxes are distributed Wednesday – Thursday, 11 a.m. – 1 p.m., at the Cesar Chavez Student Center information desk, while supplies last.
  • CalFresh Help ClinicCalFresh, federally known as the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), issues monthly electronic benefits that can be used to buy most foods at many markets. SF State provides help with screening, application assistance, questions and troubleshooting. Schedule a Zoom video appointment; email for virtual assistance-screening, application assistance, documents and questions.
  • Emergency meal cards: Cards will continue to be distributed through the Dean-on-Call program. Monday – Friday, 8 a.m. – 5 p.m., Student Services Building, Room 403.
  • Laundry kits: Distributed Monday – Friday, 10 a.m. – 3 p.m. Student Services Building, Room 403. Email for more information.
  • HOPE Crisis Fund: For students experiencing financial difficulty due to circumstances beyond their control, assistance is available through SF State’s Help, Opportunity and Pathway to Empowerment Crisis Fund.
  • Mashouf Wellness Center: The Mashouf Wellness Center is open, click the link for hours of operation.

Title IX: Promoting gender equity and preventing harassment/sexual violence.

The SAFE Place: Crisis intervention, advocacy and confidential Title IX support for survivors dealing with past or recent incidents of sexual assault, dating or domestic violence, sexual harassment and/or stalking.

Dream Resource Center: Support services for undocumented students.

Asian American and Pacific Islander Retention and Education (ASPIRE): Supports high-need Asian American and Native American Pacific Islanders (AANAP) and low-income degree-seeking undergraduate students.

Black Unity Center Works to advance educational equity for students of African descent.

Queer & Trans Resource Center: Offers LGBTQQIA-related events, services, and resources to students.

Women’s Center: Provides a safe place for womxn of any and all backgrounds at SF State.

Anti-Racist Reading List: SF State faculty and staff have created an anti-racist reading list.

Safe Zone Program: A voluntary training program for faculty, staff and administrators seeking to be LGBTQ+ allies. Find a safe zone ally where you see this symbol;

More Resources and Support Opportunities for BIPOC

Consider Donating

Thanks to Stanford Center for Comparative Studies in Race and Ethnicity for sharing these sites.

  • List of bail funds by city: Bail funds are a way to support frontline protesters who are being arrested - as well as building towards a movement to end cash bail and free hundreds of thousands of people who are in pre-trial detention during a pandemic.
  • NorthStar Health Collective: NorthStar is a Minnesota-based street medic collective, offering first aid and medical support to people on the frontlines right now.
  • Reclaim the Block: Reclaim the Block is a Minneapolis community org providing supplies and support to protesters, as well as pushing Minneapolis to spend less on policing and more on healthcare, housing and education.
  • The Black Visions Collective and Legal Fund: Black Visions Collective, a Black, trans and queer-led organization, is helping lead the protests and advocating to defund the police in Minnesota.

Local Organizations for BIPOC Support

(From KQED)

Help When It’s Not an Emergency

A police killing is an extreme example of the ways racism manifests in America, but there are ways to support black and brown communities even when it’s not a state of emergency. Equal access to housing, food, medical care and education are crucial in the fight for racial justice.

In Alameda County, where black people make up 11% of the total population, 47% of homeless people are black. The grassroots organizations People’s Breakfast Oakland and the East Oakland Collective are working directly to provide meals and hygienic supplies to our unhoused neighbors, going out into the field even during the pandemic.

Planting Justice employs formerly incarcerated people and gives low-income communities of color access to fresh fruits and vegetables. The Roots Community Health Center offers health services to those impacted by systemic poverty—including COVID-19 testing, which we know low-income black and brown need people most. The Transgender, Gender-Variant and Intersex Justice Project assists and advocates for gender non-conforming people, especially trans women of color, in California’s jails and prisons.”