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The UCC Mental Health Network Board of Directors adds its voice to those speaking out against the acts of violence and dehumanization targeting the Asian American and Pacific Islander (AAPI) community. Our hearts are broken as we grieve with this community and all who mourn the deaths of those killed March 16. The murder spree targeted Asian-operated businesses, killing eight people, six of them Asian women.
Unfortunately, these senseless murders follow a disturbing trend of a surge in acts of violence and hate reported since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic. Fueled by divisive political rhetoric that labeled the illness the “China virus,” this violence has included name-calling, spitting, assaults, robbery and murder. The New York Times reports that while the AAPI community has had approximately 3,800 documented cases of hate against it, the number is likely much higher since many cases go unreported.
Early reports suggest that the Atlanta murders were fueled by a desire to eliminate one man’s sexual temptation. This speaks to the historical fetishization of Asian women. They are viewed as hypersexualized and submissive, which makes them uniquely susceptible to this type of violence. These stereotypes are damaging, objectifying Asian women, making them targets for violent acts.
We stand together to denounce these acts of violence and discrimination perpetrated against our AAPI brothers and sisters. We hold this community in love and prayer and ask that Jesus guide us in our continued efforts at creating a world in which difference is celebrated, not condemned. We do this knowing that God made each and every one of us in a living representation of God’s own image, to love and be loved. Let us be bearers of that love as we seek to support the AAPI community.
This statement was written by Rev. Lisa LeSueur on behalf of the United Church of Christ Mental Health Network Board of Directors. For more information about how you can support this effort, please visit stopaapihate.org.
Yours in Christ,
The UCC MHN Board of Directors
Rev. Amy Petré-Hill, J.D., Chair
Jon Gilbert Martinez, M.Div., Vice Chair
Ms. Robin Kempster, R.N., Secretary
Rev. John Abel, M.Div., MBA, Treasurer
Rev. Megan Osborn Snell, M.Div., Member-At-Large
Rev. Shernell Edney Stilley, Member-At-Large
Rev. Alan Johnson, Board Member
Lisa LeSueur, Board Member
Bishop Allyson D. Nelson Abrams, DMin., Board Member
Dr. Vicki Kaye Harvey, WISE Team Member
Rev. Marty Kuchma, Board Member
Rev. Kirk L. Moore, Board Member
Rev. Dr. Jan Remer-Osborn, Board Member
Kyle Michael Ingram, MSW, Board Member
Averyn Payne, PhD, Board Member