We are heartbroken and enraged by the acts of violence and hate made terrifyingly present with the murders of six Asian women in Atlanta and the rising number of incidents of anti-Asian violence across the country and right here in the Bay Area. This violence and expression of racism against the Asian, Asian American, and Pacific Islander (AAPI) community are inexcusable and Pacific School of Religion stands in grief and solidarity with the AAPI community.
As the Christian community around the world journeys from Lent to Resurrection—and our siblings celebrate freedom from slavery at Passover, insight and revelation at Ramadan, and the power of life and love at Holi—we are called to be cleared eyed about the systemic reality of the evils we confront and courageous about our communal response to them. Anti-Asian racism in the United States is systemic: rooted in a long history of exclusion, honed by a colonial mindset designed to justify exploitation, intensified by the scars of major wars involving Asian nations in the last century, and legitimized by tired tropes of blaming decease on those considered “other.” Our theological reflection, our resilience, and our action must all also be systemic.
As we prepare spiritually rooted leaders for social transformation, our work of anti-racism is built into our entire communal life–from courses in the classroom to worship services, to our institutional policies and practices as a majority people of color community, and to our advocacy and action in the world. The following are some of the resources our faculty, staff, and students are providing as we engage specifically with issues around AAPI violence and racism:
- Dr. Joyce del Rosario’s blog post “How to Support Asians and Asian Americans in the Face of Violence”
- Rev. Dr. Aizaiah Yong, featured guest on the “Real Talk With Dumas” podcast discussing his multicultural and multiracial identity and how that has played a role in the past year, the intersectionality of religion, race, and overcoming white supremacy.
- Rev. Michael Yoshii, PSR Alum and Coordinator of United Methodist Students, will co-moderate with one of our students, Henry Pablo, a panel with the California Nevada Annual Conference of the United Methodist on March 24th at 4 pm Pacific to address the hate and violence against the AAPI community. Link to join webinar: https://cnumc.zoom.us/j/91524278226
- A number of episodes of Ignite’s leadership podcast, Change Happens Now, feature voices and practices from AAPI community to stand against racism and build a future where all can thrive.
- Dr. Susan Abraham co-authored the statement from the Asian Descent Presidents and Deans of ATS group which will be posted next week.
We hope you find these resources compiled by Dr. Sharon Fennema helpful:
- Bystander Intervention to Stop Anti-Asian/American Harassment and Xenophobia March 29, 12pm (PST)
- An action resource plan for Asian Americans and allies created by Kim Saira and Annie Wu
- A collection of resources for combatting Anti-Asian Violence.
From its very beginnings, Pacific School of Religion has stood against the forces of anti-Asian violence and exclusion—from the Chinese exclusionary acts to the Japanese internment camps-–while also offering leading voices, activism, and scholarship that advance the work of AAPI communities.
As the twin viruses of Covid-19 and racism continue to threaten our communities, we stand together as a people of hope, action, and resilience.
David Vasquez-Levy, President
Pacific School of Religion