In this interview, Mitchell Foster, a Residential Area Coordinator at Brown University, shares their experiences becoming a Brown staff member during the COVID-19 global pandemic and guiding students through increased racism against the Asian and Asian-American communities.
Foster begins by explaining their upbringing in the Philippines and the ways that Filipino culture influenced their reaction to COVID-19. They share memories of the beginning of the pandemic when Foster was working at the University of Arkansas. They explain the challenges Asian and Asian American students faced early on when they were deciding to use masks and highlights the lack of community for Asian and Asian American staff and faculty both at the University of Arkansas and at Brown. Foster goes on to share the ways they prepared to protect themself against acts of racism and emphasizes that these acts can and do happen across the country, not just among certain populations.
In closing their interview, Foster implores listeners to seek assistance when needed and to know that there are resources and people who want to help. They also share their goals of pursuing a PhD program as a way to increase the visibility of Filipinos and Filipino culture in the academy.