Asians and Asian-Americans of the United Methodist Church Condemn the Rise of Anti-Asian Violence in the U.S.

March 18, 2021 | by Admin

Asians and Asian-Americans of the United Methodist Church Condemn the Rise of Anti-Asian Violence in the U.S.

Image credit: NBC News

Editor's Note: The following is the new and revised Statement Against Anti-Asian Violence from the Asian American Language Ministry Plan (AALM), and the New Federation of Asian American United Methodists (NFAAUM). The statement has been endorsed by all of the Asian American active Bishops in the U.S., as well as Asian American academics, leaders in the UMC and all of the 12 different Asian Caucuses. 

Rev. John Oda, who directs the Asian American Language Ministry Plan said, “This is not just an Asian American concern.  It is not an African American concern, a Hispanic/Latino concern, a Native American concern or a Pacific Islander concern.  This increase in violence is a concern for ALL Christians; for anyone who wants to live out the tenets of the Gospel of Jesus Christ and who wants to fulfill His commandment to love one another.  The United Methodist Church has a moral obligation to be vocally and visibly outraged at this precipitous rise in violence and hatred against the Asian American community.” 


 


Asians and Asian-Americans of the United Methodist Church Condemn the Rise of Anti-Asian Violence in the U.S.
John 1:5, “The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it.”
Amos 5:24, “But let justice roll on like a river, righteousness like a never-failing stream!”

Lent is a season of self-examination, confession and a walk with Jesus through the wilderness, alienation, betrayal, death and ultimately resurrection. As we journey with Jesus through Lent, we see that we are currently in a period of darkness because there has been a precipitous rise in the hatred and violence against the Asian American community in this country.

The Asian and Asian American Bishops of the United Methodist Church, the New Federation of Asian American United Methodists, the Asian American Language Ministry Plan, along with other Asian American leaders and academics of the United Methodist Church, strongly condemn the surge in xenophobic violence against Asian Americans and especially violence against the Asian American elderly. More than 122 incidents of anti-Asian American hate crimes have been committed in 16 of the country’s most populous cities since 2020, an increase of almost 150% over the previous year . According to Stop AAPI Hate , 2,800 incidents of racism and discrimination targeting Asian Americans have occured since March 2020. Russell Jeung, the chair of the Asian-American Studies Department at San Francisco State University and one of the leaders of “ Stop AAPI Hate ” , said that, according to the organization’s data, people 60 and older were disproportionately targeted with physical violence, as were women. In New York City, violence against Asian Americans has risen by 1,900% in 2020 .

These acts of hate are neither sporadic nor haphazard. They reflect a larger systemic trend of anti-Asian American animosity brought on during the COVID-19 pandemic, which has been exacerbated by documented xenophobic policies and racist rhetoric disseminated by the previous Administration. Politically charged racist rhetoric has fomented the hate against Asian Americans. The people who have perpetrated these acts of violence have used racist language including phrases like: Wuhan Virus, Kung Flu, China Virus, China Plague. This dangerous scapegoating is fabricated and must stop.

We strongly condemn the rising physical violence against Asian Americans across this country. In California, attacks against Asian Americans rose by 115%. In the San Francisco Bay Area, racist and hate motivated violence has left one person dead and others badly injured. On January 5th, a 52-year-old Asian American woman was shot in the head with a flare gun in Oakland’s Chinatown. On February 3rd, a 64-year-old grandmother in San Jose, California was assaulted and robbed of cash that she had just withdrawn for Lunar New Year gifts. On that same day in Manhattan, Noel Quintana, 61, was riding the subway when his assaulter slashed his face. On February 4 th a 91 year old man in Oakland, California was inexplicably shoved to the ground by a man who was walking behind him. On February 26th a 36 year old an Asian-American man was stabbed while walking outside the federal courthouse in Chinatown, New York City. On March 14th a Burmese man and his two children were slashed by a knife-wielding attacker while shopping in Midland, Texas. The accused man said he did it because he thought they were “Chinese and infecting people with the coronavirus”. On January 26th, 84-year-old Vicha Ratanapakdee was going for a morning walk in his San Francisco neighborhood, when a man running at him full speed smashed into his frail body, throwing him to the pavement. Mr. Ratanapakdee died of his injuries two days later. There have been more than two dozen recent assaults and robberies on the Asian American elderly in the San Francisco Bay Area and many many more have gone unreported. These attacks must stop.

We commend President Biden who, on January 26, 2021, signed a memorandum pledging to combat anti-Asian and Pacific Islander discrimination and the Presidential memorandum states, “During the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic, inflammatory and xenophobic rhetoric has put Asian American and Pacific Islander (AAPI) persons, families, communities, and businesses at risk.” While we wholeheartedly affirm this memorandum as a step forward it must now be followed up by immediate action both by the State and the Church.

Actions
We ask that the church live up to its commitments stated in the 2016 United Methodist Book of Resolution #3422 “ Speaking Out for Compassion: Transforming the Context of Hate in the United States ”. This is an urgent matter of justice.

We ask that all United Methodists read again and live out our own Charter for Racial Justice which states that all persons are of equal value in the sight of God and that racism is a rejection of the teachings of Jesus Chris t. The Charter also states that our struggle for justice must be based on new attitudes, new understandings, and new relationships and must be reflected in the laws, policies, structures, and practices of both church and state.

We implore all United Methodists to end their complicity with hate and speak out when jokes, disparagements, and stereotypes based on difference. These differences fuel fear and rationalize acts of violence. We further call on all United Methodists to implement, biblically based, multigenerational resources that address the systemic nature of hate crimes.

Finally, we call on the Council of Bishops to create opportunities to listen to and hear from Asian Americans and other excluded groups about the current reality and impact of the violence and hatred; and partner with these groups to act for justice so that the light of Jesus can shine in the darkness, and the darkness of systematic racism will be conquered.

As we continue our journey through this Lenten Season and move from darkness to light, we are reminded that these acts of violence against Asian Americans have their origins in the darkness. Shifting this hatred into the light of God will require that all us condemn acts of racist hatred and move toward love, tolerance and justice; all of which Jesus Crhist modeled in his life, death and resurrection.

We the undersigned support and endorse this statement: Bishop Sudarshana Devadhar New England Annual Conference; Bishop Grant Hagiya California Pacific Annual Conference; Bishop Robert Hoshibata Desert Southwest Annual Conference; Bishop Rodolfo A. Juan Davao Episcopal Area; Bishop Hee-Soo Jung Wisconsin Annual Conference; Bishop Jeremiah Park Susquehanna Annual Conference Bishop Roy Sano Retired Rev. Bener Baysa Agtarap E.D., Community Engage. & Church Plant./Path 1, GBOD Rev. Dr. Liberato Bautista Asst. General Sec. - UN and International Affairs, GBCS; Rev. Dr. Judy Chung Executive Director, Missionary Service, GBGM; Rev. Doris Kung Chi-Pui Dalton Dir., Lead. Dev./Intercultural Competency, NY Conference; Roland Fernandes General Secretary, General Board of Global Ministries; Aimee H. Hong Special E.D. of Education and Engagement, GBOD; Kwangki David Kim Dir., Korean, Asian & Pacific Islander Ministries. GBOD; Rev. Mighty Rasing Director, Central Conference Relations, GBOD; Sung-ok Lee Assist. Gen. Sec., Christian Social Action , UM Women; Dr. Jung Choi Sr. Dir, Wesleyan Form. Initiatives Duke Divinity School; Dr. Courtney Goto Assoc. Prof. of Religious Ed., Boston School of Theology; Dr. Dong Hyeon Jeong Asst. Professor, Garrett-Evangelical Theological Seminary; Dr. Arun W. Jones Associate Professor, Candler School of Theology; Dr. Helen Jin Kim Asst. Professor, Candler School of Theology; Dr. Sangwoo Kim Professor, Duke Divinity School; Rev. Dr. Kah-Jin Jeffrey Kuan President, Claremont School of Theology; Rev. Dr. Boyung Lee Sr. VP Acad. Affairs/Dean of Faculty, Iliff School of Theology; Dr. K. Samuel Lee Professor, Claremont School of Theology; Dr. Kirsten S. Oh Professor, Azusa Pacific University Dr. G. Sujin Pak Dean, Boston University School of Theology Dr. Andrew S. Park Professor, United Theological Seminary Dr. Mai-Anh Le Tran VP Academic Affairs & Academic Dean, Garrett-Evangelical Rev. Hak-Soon Paul Chang Executive Director, Korean Ministry Plan Rev. Sonxay Chathasone Chair, Lao/Thai National UMC Caucus Rev. William Chou Chair, Formosan National UMC Caucus; Rev. Scort Christy Pres., New Federation of Asian Amer. United Methodists; Rev. Edgar De Jesus President, Nat. Assoc. of Filipino Am. United Methodists; Rev. Vathanak Heang Chair, Cambodian National Caucus of the UMC; Dr. Christina Lee President, Cambodian UMC Women’s Network; Rev. Puong Ong Lau Chair, National Chinese Caucus, UMC; Rev. Jae Duk Lew President, Korean National Caucus of the UMC; Rev. Karen Yokota Love Chair, National Japanese American UMC Caucus; Rev. Timothy Rathod President, National Indian Caucus, UMC; Rev. Ayla Samson President, Pakistani UMC Caucus; Monalisa Tuitahi Executive Director, Pacific Islander National Caucus, UMC; Rev. Kelly Van Chair, Vietnamese National Caucus, UMC; Rev. Nathan V. Vang Chair, Hmong National Caucus, UMC; Rev. Tsuker Yang Hmong National Caucus, DS Wisconsin Annual Conference; Rev. Zaki L. Zaki President, Middle Eastern UMC Caucus.

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Media Contacts: Rev. John Oda Asian American Language Ministry Plan Email: JO da@umcmission.org cell: 510-220-8959 Rev. Scort Christy President of New Federation of Asian American United Methodists Email: pastorscort@gmail.com