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Bishops' Statement on Violence against Asian Americans

Posted: March 19 2021 at 09:01 AM

Learn to do right; seek justice. Defend the oppressed. (Isaiah 1:17, NIV)

On behalf of the people of the Episcopal Diocese of Chicago, the Metropolitan Chicago Synod, Evangelical Lutheran Church in America, and the Northern Illinois Conference, United Methodist Church, we condemn the shootings in metropolitan Atlanta on March 16 that left eight people dead and one injured. We recognize that these shootings were not a random attack. Six of the eight people killed were Asian American women. 

These shootings are the product of a culture of violence, misogyny, and hatred against Asian American people—particularly Asian women—that has intensified over the last year. The onset of the COVID-19 pandemic has fueled a significant increase in anti-Asian rhetoric, hate crimes and acts of violence against our Asian American siblings.

According to a recent report, Asian Americans have experienced a 150% increase in hate crimes in major cities over the last year, and “Asian American women reported harassment incidents 2.3 times more often than their male counterparts.” 
We acknowledge that this most recent event is another chapter in a long history of violence and hate directed at Asian American people, and we grieve the pain, fear and anger it has engendered. Our thoughts and prayers are with the families, friends and neighbors of all whose lives were touched by Tuesday evening’s shootings, but we acknowledge that we are called on to do more than think and pray.

We commit to stand up and speak out against violence, hate, gender and sexual bias, economic discrimination, and racism of all types and to give whatever support and sustenance we can to our Asian American friends and neighbors. In the wake of this most recent tragedy, we must learn more about the particular challenges facing our Asian American siblings so that together we can work to combat the forces of evil and hate that provoke unspeakable acts of violence like the one we now mourn.

The Rev. Paula E. Clark, Bishop-Elect, Episcopal Diocese of Chicago
The Rt. Rev. Yehiel Curry, Bishop, Metropolitan Chicago Synod, Evangelical Lutheran Church in America
Bishop John L. Hopkins, Interim Bishop, Northern Illinois Conference, United Methodist Church

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The Rev. Martin Lee, NIC Dir. of Congregational Development and Redevelopment, welcomed Rev. Jesse Jackson to First Korean UMC in Wheeling for worship on Sunday, March 21. Lee gave testimony how the anti-Asian racism is impacting him and his family and how his wife is afraid to even go to the grocery store. Lee said it is well past time to reject the notion that any of us or any ethnic communities are independent. “We are all interrelated,” said Lee. "The wellbeing of any one group affects the wellbeing of all groups. God created every human being in his image to reflect the uniqueness of human potential for participating in the whole creation.”

Read his full statement

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