Statement on the Killings in Atlanta and the Threats All Asians Face in America Today
As Christians, we deplore all forms of violence and hate against anyone; hate and violence are incompatible with the gospel of Jesus and destructive toward our efforts to foster a thriving human community. Tuesday’s killings in Atlanta, including the deaths of six Asian American women, are part of an appalling trend of rising animosity toward AAPI (Asian American & Pacific Islander) communities.
During the pandemic, Asian Americans have already been experiencing racist and xenophobic hostility and violence. The collective trauma from Tuesday’s murders deepens Asian American communities’ mental, emotional, and physical exhaustion rooted in long histories of anti-Asian violence, xenophobia, and racism in the U.S.
What we are witnessing is not a surprising surge but an old and predictable pattern of racist scapegoating and misogyny fueled by white supremacy. The Chinese Exclusion Act of 1882, The Gentleman’s Agreement in 1907 restricting Japanese immigration, the 1924 exclusion of Asian immigrants from citizenship, naturalization, property ownership, or marriage to whites, the Tydings-McDuffie Act restricting Filipino immigration in 1934, and Executive Order 9066 which imprisoned Japanese Americans in 1942, are all just a few points in which Anti-Asian sentiments were codified into law in our country.
Our country’s long history of anti-Asian xenophobia, the rising tide of violence against Asian Americans over the past year, and the deadly attacks on Tuesday, March 2021, must not go unanswered.
Our Christian faith, and our shared humanity, summons us to speak up and take action.
Silence is complicity. Silence hurts. And silence kills.
We must speak clearly about what is happening.
Officials announced that the shooter in Atlanta was motivated by “sexual addiction” and that “he had a bad day.” This public announcement naively assumes that sexual violence, sexism, and racism don’t operate together in the lives of Asian American women. It erases a long history of racist fetishization of Asian women as objects for white male consumption and dismisses the devastating loss of precious lives by describing the incident simply as a white man having a bad day.
We echo this statement issued by the National Asian Pacific American Women’s Forum: “We must call this moment for what it is–white supremacy, anti-Asian racism, sexism, and sexual violence against Asian American women.”
We will not tolerate anti-Asian hate in our nation or our community.
To our AAPI siblings, you are not alone. We stand with you. We will protect your rights and dignity and safety, and we will leverage whatever resources we can to dismantle white supremacy and heal our nation.
We call on all of our church family and the wider Davis community to stand in solidarity with our AAPI family members.
- Stay updated on response efforts and action items: https://www.advancingjustice-atlanta.org/ or follow @Advancing_Justice_Atl on Instagram.
- Attend the Davis Phoenix Coalition’s Vigil on Friday, March 19 at 7pm at the Solidarity Space in Central Park. If you are unable to attend the vigil in person, put a sign on your door, chalk your driveway, and light a candle at 7pm.
- Check in on your friends. They may or may not respond (because responding can also be exhausting), but silence further minimizes the pain and renders it invisible. LISTEN and hold space for whatever is shared or not shared. Refrain from offering silver linings or your own sense of hope in the midst of this tragedy. Right now, Asian Americans are grieving, and they need space to process without other people telling them how to feel.
We call on our white community members to become aware of, and active in, the ongoing work of dismantling white supremacy at every level of our shared community life. While each of us can help change the climate of injustice by our advocacy and solidarity, white folks are uniquely situated to leverage their power to help create positive change on this issue.
And we encourage everyone to become more educated about Asian American history and the current movement to end anti-Asian violence. We offer these resources as places to begin:
- Asian Americans Then and Now: https://asiasociety.org/education/asian-americans-then-and-now
- Berkeley Expert: In Times of Crisis, Anti-Asian Violence is an American Tradition: https://news.berkeley.edu/2021/03/17/berkeley-expert-in-times-of-crisis-anti-asian-violence-is-an-american-tradition/
- To Be An Asian Woman in America: https://www.cnn.com/2021/03/17/opinions/to-be-an-asian-woman-in-america-ho/index.html
- The Making of Asian America: http://www.erikalee.org/the-making-of-asian-america/
- Stop Asian Hate: https://www.stopasianhate.info/
- Anti-Asian Violence Resources: https://anti-asianviolenceresources.carrd.co/
Together, we must face our violent history, protect each other through the painful present, and work to build a community rooted evermore deeply in justice and love.
Rev. Dr. Chris Neufeld-Erdman, Rev. Dr. Eunbee Ham, and DCC’s Session (board of elders)