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Today's letter from WHOI's President and Director, Peter de Menocal -

Dear WHOI community,

I am writing to you today, alarmed by the recent violence and racist attacks against Asians and Asian Americans across our nation. I am very concerned about the impact this may have or had on members of our community. Anti-Asian racism has a long history in America, gaining new momentum in recent years as a result of anti-immigrant politics, and again this past year with the spread of misinformation about the coronavirus pandemic. In recent weeks, this racism has escalated into a wave of heinous physical violence against Asians, including 61-year old Noel Quintana in Manhattan, an unnamed 91-year-old man in Oakland, and 84-year-old Vicha Ratanapakdee in San Francisco, who later died from his injuries.

I am disturbed by these attacks and the racism that spurred them. These events harm not only our Asian colleagues and neighbors and their families, but also tug at the very fabric of our community. Together, we must stand strong against racial violence, discrimination, xenophobia, and misinformation.

I ask you as a member of the WHOI community, and also as someone who has seen his own family and friends impacted by this recent rise in violence, to be aware that this is very real and present. These times call on us to be empathetic and supportive of each other, and simple acts of kindness – a call, a note, a smile - can make a great difference. We cannot be bystanders, nor should we let injustice pass when we see it. I’ve been moved to see the breadth of WHOI’s commitment to diversity, equity, and inclusion principles. Advancing these principles of human dignity and building community for people of all races and ethnicities is central to WHOI’s vision and who we are as an Institution. We must actively work to recognize, confront, and dismantle racism in all its forms, both within WHOI and in the broader community.

For those who may be directly impacted, we are arranging for confidential listening groups and bringing in experts who are trained to facilitate difficult conversations for those impacted by racism.  Details of these arrangements will be sent out as soon as they are available.

Additional resources are listed below in the hopes this may be helpful to you. WHOI leadership is here to listen to your concerns and support you as we move forward together.


Peter de Menocal, President and Director



Reaching out for support or to report an incident

We encourage you to seek support by reaching out to the KGA Employees Assistance Program, by contacting HR, or by speaking with a member of Senior Administration, Staff Council, or your supervisor.

You may access the KGA counseling team for confidential and expert guidance with an experienced KGA clinician in the following ways:

  1. A KGA counselor can make an outreach call to you directly.  If you are interested, please send your name and contact information to Kathi Benjamin at kbenjamin@whoi.eduor call her at ext. 2705 or on her cell phone of 774-392-2147. No one else at WHOI will be aware of your request to have a confidential outreach from a counselor.  Any follow-up will not be shared with Kathi.
  2. You may reach out directly by calling 800-648-9557 and ask for support. During business hours, you may ask for Laura Jacobson or Kristin Matthews. After hours, please call 800-648-9557 and ask to speak to a counselor. KGA has a team of expert clinicians 24/7 who are aware of this incident and ready to help you process this traumatic event.

The EAP provides 24/7 immediate, confidential access to counselors for emotional support and information about resources related to a crisis, at no cost to you. Contact KGA at 800-648-9557, by email at, or on the KGA website. For easy access, download the KGA app, KGA Mobile, in the Apple or Google Play stores.


Confidential reporting of a racist incident

  • WHOI Ethics Point confidential hotline: 866-868-0920 or on-line confidential reporting


Learn how to combat anti-Asian racism


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