Hate Crimes and Violence Against Asian Americans and the Beloved Community
March 17, 2021
Reports tell us that last night in Georgia, a troubled, violent, young white man killed eight people: six of them Asian American, and seven of them women. This violence follows a dramatic rise in hate crimes and attacks against Asian Americans and Asian Pacific Islander (AAPI) communities, including Asian American elders. And this has taken place within a year in which hate crimes against AAPI, and especially Asian American women have risen sharply.
This violence is an assault against the victims, an assault against all members of the Asian American community, and an assault against the image of God in all people. Violence against Asian Americans, and the old American proactive of othering, stigmatizing, and targeting Asian Americans and others is an offense against Jesus’ vision for humanity and our shared dignity as God’s beloved. As I preached last Sunday, there are so many ways to hate God.
Reservoir Church has a vision of seeing into being God’s Beloved Community among us and throughout the earth. We continue committing ourselves to becoming a deeply anti-racist church. And our Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion team and Asian American members and leaders will likely have more to say and share in the weeks to come.
On this day, though, we grieve with the families and communities of all those who have suffered and still suffer race-based and gender-based violence. We call for ongoing repentance from any forms of stigmatizing, othering, or assaulting the bodies or worth of any group of God’s beloved children. And we offer you the voices of two of your pastors – mine and now Lydia Shiu’s as well – in love and solidarity.
Friends —I’m on a continued journey of realizing my racial ethnic identity and some days I don’t know how I feel. I’m sharing with you, for now, how I am feeling today. I may have more words later, maybe even requests or call to action. Right now, this is what’s on my heart…
I’m so used to, maybe because of my culture or maybe because of external expectations, enduring pain and suffering silently. Who am I to complain? What about all those who have suffered more? But for now, I am sad. It hits home. It feels close. Learning that the victims of the shooting in Atlanta yesterday were Korean American made me wince. The pain, loss, hatred feels like it’s coming closer and closer to me. Though the reality is, it has always been there. The otherness of me.
I can’t help the anger and grief towards the fact that rhetoric from our past president and other leadership who use words like “China virus” probably contributed to horrific acts like this. Asian Americans make up about 5% of the American population. But made up of people, mothers and sons, beloveds and communities. God, do you care about the minority? Do you hear the small voices crying out? In other words, do we care? Do we hear them?