We Are Committed to Confronting Anti-Asian Bias

We Are Committed to Confronting Anti-Asian Bias

The following is a statement from The Rev. James D. Ross II, Minister for Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion:
Watch the video here, or watch it on Facebook to view it with captions

As investigations continue, we mourn the deaths of the eight people killed in a shooting rampage yesterday at three suburban Atlanta massage parlors. Six of the victims were women of Asian descent.
We lament today with their family members and all who loved them. These women were at work; no one should fear that simply showing up at their job could mean risking their life.

These attacks come as we witness an increase in violent crimes against people of Asian descent, and many people in Asian-American communities are feeling increasingly unsafe. We, therefore, also pray for and hold in our hearts the communities comprised of people of Asian descent in Atlanta, as well as those in the Southern New England Conference states of Massachusetts, Connecticut, and Rhode Island, and throughout the United States.
Police say they do not know yet whether yesterday’s killings were race related. But, regardless of whether these women were targeted explicitly because of their race, we have learned enough from the gunman to understand that they certainly died because of who they are.
The 21-year-old, white male shooter said he is a sex addict and wanted to eliminate the temptation that comes from massage parlors. So, he targeted these women because of where they worked. Further, his assertion that he needed to kill to remove the temptation they cause points to the ways in which women of Asian descent continue to be hyper-sexualized, fetishized, and stereotyped. Certainly, police will conduct their investigation, but it seems clear that the race and gender of the victims informed the shooter’s decision to attack them.
Our work at the conference cannot end at praying. We also are committed to confronting anti-Asian bias and discrimination as part of our racial justice work. And because we recognize and celebrate the full identity of all of God’s children, we will continue to work against gender-based violence and any representation that minimizes or leads to harm against women of Asian descent.
As always, we invite and look forward to partnering with United Church of Christ members and clergy in all settings, as well as our ecumenical partners, interfaith colleagues, and others who wish to join us in struggle.
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