Pastor Curtis L. Smith has been named interim executive director of Faith in the Valley,…
The recent uptick of violence directed at Asian-Americans in this country has increased the fears and anxieties of our Asian and AAPI kin. The horrific events in Atlanta, Georgia where eight people were murdered, six of whom were Asian, two of whom were white, and all but one victim was a woman, have deepened fears of intensified white nationalist and gendered terror. Our faith traditions each implore us in different ways to “mourn with those who mourn” as a call to solidarity with those who experience the tragedies of life. We mourn with our Asian-American/AAPI kin as they navigate a country that has a longstanding tradition of targeting them with legal and interpersonal discrimination and marginalization; they have experienced increased hate and violence since the outbreak of COVID-19. We mourn with them, that they must walk down the street looking over their shoulders. We mourn with them, that they must worry about the safety of their elders when performing everyday tasks. We mourn with them that they feel disposable.
As people of faith, we collectively denounce the hierarchy of white supremacy that offers up the lives of ethnic minorities to be slaughtered, predicated upon a system of racial classification. In contrast, we offer up that every human being is created in the image of God and inherently worthy of life. We denounce the system of white supremacy that creates competition amongst ethnic minorities and inhibits the ability for people to speak out against the pain that the Asian-American/AAPI community is experiencing right now. Instead, we stand firm that our liberation is interwoven with one another, that our freedom dreams will not be realized separate from one another. We affirm the value of Asian-American/AAPI communities and declare that our work to build a new world will come in our embrace of one another, and not in our separation.
Contrary to the ethic of white supremacy that creates racial hierarchies and structures a society predicated on exclusion and the carrot of assimilation to whiteness, we declare that God’s table is large and at God’s table are people from every walk of life—fully valued and fully affirmed in our collective humanity. While we work to create a new Central Valley, we pray for and long for the day when the eternal God, “will wipe every tear from their eyes” and “there will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away.”