Oak Park, IL — The Asian American Christian Collaborative (AACC) condemns and denounces the violence committed in the Atlanta massacre on March 16, 2021. AACC utterly condemns all violent acts against Asian Americans and calls for justice.
“We knew this day was coming. Hate crimes against Asians and Asian Americans have been escalating since the beginning of 2020. First we were shouted at, then we were coughed on, then we were spit on, then we were shoved and kicked and pushed, then we were slashed and stabbed, then we were doused in acid and lit on fire. Now Asian female bodies have been shot and murdered,” said Dr. Michelle Ami Reyes, Vice President, Asian American Christian Collaborative, “This is a pivotal week for us. The Atlanta Massacre is the Asian American community’s George Floyd moment. Now is the time to collectively stand for AAPI lives and dignity. If people stay silent, if people do nothing, we will see more of these sorts of horrific tragedies against Asians and Asian Americans in the future.”
AACC is a multi-denominational group led by, for, and about Asian American Christians. Over 600+ people have signed to support the AACC Statement on the Atlanta Massacre and Ongoing Anti-Asian Hate.
“Every life is precious in the eyes of God. Each one taken in the Atlanta Massacre bore God’s image. 谭小洁 Xiaojie Tan, 김현정 Hyun Jung Grant, 冯道友 Daoyou Feng, 박순정 Soon Chung Park, 김순자 Sun Cha Kim,유영애 Yong Ae Yue, Delaina Ashley Yaun, and Paul Andre Michels each had a story with hopes and dreams, disappointments and difficulties, and we mourn their lives. We are particularly devastated by the fact that Asian women were targeted by a professed Christian. For too long, too many within the church in the United States have neglected the ways in which race and racialization, misogyny and sexualization has shaped our attitudes and perspectives, and for too long, the church in the United States has not uprooted the sin of racism and misogyny that pervades our nation,” said Pastor Raymond Chang, President, Asian American Christian Collaborative.
“The recent horrific Atlanta shooting of 8 lives, including 6 Asian American women, have caught the attention of this country after more than a year of nonstop hate incidents and crimes against Asian Americans during Covid-19. For so long, the Asian American community have cried out only to be ignored against the injustice, racism and exclusion we have faced everyday in policies, discussions, and investments. Our sufferings and our contributions continue to be erased.We are invisible in the talking points, the powerpoints and on the stage. The invisibility and the model minority myth are literally killing us and robbing us of solidarity with other communities of color and opportunities of investments that advance our community. The Asian American community waits as well as the world in looking to the United States to see if our country’s response to these injustices will live up to and embrace Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s quote, “Injustice anywhere, is a threat to justice everywhere… Whatever affects one directly, affects all indirectly.” said Hyepin Im, President/Founder, Faith And Community Empowerment
AACC also cries out against violence perpetrated in the name of Christianity. We condemn the evasion of responsibility by churches and denominations that have historically perpetuated the social conditions for attitudes and perspectives that have led to the unequal, unjust, and ungodly treatment and murders of racialized minorities. AACC further condemns rhetoric that seeks to treat the shooter of the Atlanta massacre as an anomaly when, in fact, churches, denominations, and political ideologies/idolatries have normalized the dangerous ideologies that motivated him. We call Christians and church leaders to the following:
1. Confess our own failure to disciple our congregants out of Christian nationalism to stem dehumanizing and objectifying falsehoods about women and racially minoritized groups in our country. Pray that our churches bear unified, faithful, and courageous witness to the lordship of Christ;
2. Preach and teach against anti-Asian racism, denounce the March 16th massacre from our platforms of influence, and honor the victims by using their names instead of centering on the murderer;
3. Commit to tearing down the idols of nationalism, misogyny, and xenophobia in the church through race- and gender-conscious discipleship that includes but is not limited to education on Asian American issues, anti-Asian bias, the exotifying of Asian women, and Asian American histories of oppression and resistance;
4. Invite, empower, and hire Asian American female and male ministry leaders who understand the complexities of U.S. racism to speak into the ways Christian ministries, organizations, and institutions can respond to anti-Asian racism, misogyny, and Christian nationalism in holistic and long-term ways; listen to Asian American stories of discrimination, marginalization, racism, and racialization, in the larger U.S. and in the church; and include Asian Americans in initiatives that impact communities of color;
5. Demand that all federal agencies review and revise policies that define hate crimes in ways that better account for acts of racism as seen in Atlanta and elsewhere over the past year, and support legislation aimed at protecting those who are being targeted by acts of hate and domestic terror;
6. Seek to understand the ways that the model minority myth pits the Asian American community against other communities of color in ways that discourage solidarity among them, perpetuates the false notion that racial inequities and barriers can be overcome at the individual rather than systemic level, and discounts the harm that our communities face and minimizes the needs of our community when they emerge. Seek to understand the ways the perpetual foreigner stereotype casts Asian Americans as a racial problem and perilous other in ways that has led to insidious racial microaggressions and brazen forms of anti-Asian violence.
Pastor Raymond Chang, President, Asian American Christian Collaborative
Dr. Michelle Ami Reyes, Vice President, Asian American Christian Collaborative
Ms. Hyepin Im, President and Founder, Faith and Community Empowerment
Dr. Gabriel J. Catanus, Pastor, Garden City Covenant Church
Dr. Russell Jeung, Asian-American Studies Professor, San Francisco State University
Ms. Nikki Toyama-Szeto, Executive Director, Christians for Social Action
Ms. Jessica Min Chang, Chief Advancement and Partnerships Officer, The Field School
Ms. Jenny Yang, Vice President for Advocacy and Policy, World Relief
Dr. Yulee Lee, Senior Director of Staff and Partnerships, Fuller Youth Institute
Pastor Juliet Liu, Board Chair, Missio Alliance
Rev. Eugene Cho, CEO/President, Bread for the World
Rev. Sabrina Chan, National Director of Asian American Ministries, InterVarsity Christian Fellowship
For resources to empower and equip individuals, organizations, and churches for faithful action to address anti-Asian racism, visit www.asianamericanchristiancollaborative.com
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