Washington, D.C. – Bread for the World grieves for the victims of the Atlanta-area gun rampage on Tuesday that took the lives of eight innocent people, including six women of Asian descent. We join with others across the United States and the world in calling for an end to the racist violence and verbal abuse targeting Asian, Asian American, and Pacific Islander individuals and communities.
The victims of Tuesday’s shooting include: Xiaojie Tan, 49; Daoyou Feng, 44; Hyun J. Grant, 51; Suncha Kim, 69; Yong A. Yue, 63; and Soon C. Park, 74; all women of Asian descent. Delaina Yaun, 33, and Paul Andre Michels, 54, were also killed. Elcias Hernandez-Ortiz, 30, remains hospitalized.
“We mourn the life of each victim – many of them Asian women – and pray for their families and loved ones,” said Rev. Eugene Cho, president and CEO of Bread for the World. “As we pray and lament, we must also continue to stand up and speak out against these atrocities committed against AAPI communities. Our righteous anger against hate and injustice must be loud but our pursuit of justice and commitment to the beloved community must be louder.”
Since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, anti-Asian racism and hate crimes have skyrocketed. This rise is undoubtedly tied to the racist and inflammatory anti-Asian rhetoric that spread across the country and has been promulgated by the media, prominent media personalities, and government officials.
Bread stands against this racism and violence, and we stand with AAPI communities. While the details of the Atlanta shooting are still emerging, Stop AAPI Hate has reported nearly 3,800 anti-Asian hate incidents since the start of the pandemic – with 68 percent of the reports coming from women.
Just as rising hunger rates among AAPI communities amid COVID-19 are exacerbated by systems and structures tainted by the sins of racism, misogyny, and colonialism, the increasing violence and hate speech against these communities is a product of those same systems and structures. They operate through policies that perpetuate attitudes and behaviors that dehumanize those who are labeled “foreigners” or “the other.”
This is evidenced in the long and often untold history of anti-Asian racism in the U.S., including the Chinese Exclusion Act of 1882, the internment of Japanese Americans during World War II, and the anti-Asian violence following the 9/11 attacks.
This history contributes to the significant impact that AAPI communities have endured during the pandemic. Twenty-eight percent of Asian American-owned small businesses have closed in the past year. AAPI communities and individuals have also suffered mental health impacts and trauma, due in part to anti-Asian violence.
Bread affirms the Statement on Anti-Asian Racism in the Time of COVID-19, issued by Asian-American Christian leaders last year, and calls upon the Christian community to seize this teachable moment and speak out against anti-Asian, and all racist, violence. We, as a community, must rekindle our confession that all people are created in the image of God and that the love of God is for everyone, without exception.
*LORD- help us to stand with those who are oppressed, harassed, vulnerable, and abused.
Like You, we condemn each hateful act of violence, knowing each act was committed against one of Your precious children and our siblings – each carefully crafted in Your image. We cry out in anger and sadness for the victims.
- For the constant barrage of verbal assaults and dehumanizing harassment – have mercy.
- For the displays of intimidation, unrelenting threats, and societal ostracizing – have mercy.
- For the acts of violence against the elderly – have mercy.
- For the continued graffiti and hate-laced messages left at churches – have mercy.
- For the targeted murders of Asian women in Atlanta – have mercy.
- For any thought, attitude, belief, or behavior of our own that communicates anything other than Your immense LOVE – we repent – have mercy on us.
Redeem what has been stolen.
Renew that which has been destroyed.
Resurrect. For You alone give life.
And may You use Your beautiful work.
We pray in Jesus’ name.
*Prayer adapted from Overlake Christian Church