The Unitarian Universalist Association (UUA) joins leaders across the country in decrying the recent surge of hate crimes against Asians and Asian Americans. In this last year, violence and verbal harassment targeting this community have been exacerbated by anti-Asian rhetoric and blame.
We call on federal, state, and local governments at every level to send the clear message that such actions will not be tolerated. We are in solidarity with victims, survivors, and families who have suffered loss and pain.
This country has a shameful history of racist acts towards the Asian community. It includes the Chinese Exclusion Act of 1882 and the U.S. incarceration of approximately 120,000 Japanese Americans during the Second World War. Long-standing racist tropes about Asians as “other” are deeply embedded in the national consciousness. These stereotypes fuel current discrimination and we all need to reflect on how they can subtly shape unconscious bias or even outright hatred and violence.
This recent rise in anti-Asian violence has been incited in large measure by the xenophobic rhetoric and misinformation about the Coronavirus pandemic that was spread by the previous president. In contrast, it was gratifying to hear President Biden declare in his recent speech, “It’s wrong, it’s un-American, and it must stop.”
We know these acts of violence are rooted in the same white supremacy and hate that takes the lives of Black, Indigenous, and Latinx people. White supremacy culture works hard to pit marginalized communities against each other to prevent the formation of powerful coalitions. We must condemn media narratives that cast this as a “Black vs. Asian” issue. We need to affirm the interconnectedness of Black and Asian communities and all people who are against hatred—and recognize that this discrimination was born of the extremism that hurts us all.
This rise in violence is another result of systemic racism that is rooted deeply in the United States. It’s a wake-up call that it’s time for America to take a long, hard look in the mirror. We must confront ignorance with information and education. We must not tolerate the racist violence and the multiple systemic crises of injustice that the COVID pandemic has laid bare.
As Unitarian Universalists, we affirm that every human life is important and worthy of respect. In the midst of the forces of hate that seek to undermine our fundamental interdependence, we must re-affirm our compassion and responsibility to one another.
We call upon all of our religious leaders to condemn widely in their congregations and communities this anti-Asian violence and to partner with organizations combatting these crimes. We must all respond to incidents of hate while also addressing the root causes of violence and bigotry.
- The UUA is in solidarity with the Asian Pacific Islander Caucus of Diverse Revolutionary Unitarian Universalist Multicultural Ministries (DRUUMM) and we share their statement with you.
- If you identify as an Asian/Pacific Islander UU, you can join DRUUM’s APIC Facebook group.
- Stop AAPI Hate was established to help people report hate incidents against the Asian American and Pacific Islander community.