A Statement from Bishop Pedro Suárez on Anti-Asian Racism & Violence
Beloved in Christ,
Last Tuesday, eight innocent people were murdered inside three separate businesses in Atlanta. Six of those people were Asian women. The perpetrator has said he committed this violence because of his sex addiction, and because of this, some people might not think this was an act of racism against Asians. However, the Asian community has been terrified by many different acts of violence recently, and members of their community have been victimized all over the country.
This was just the latest act of violence against Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders (AAPI). Though violence against AAPI is not new, there has been an increase in crimes against this community since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic.
In early March, The Asian and Pacific Islander Association of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA) issued a statement addressing the increase in violence directed toward AAPI communities, saying, “Asian American and Pacific Islander children and adults are facing assaults with racial slurs, bullying, spitting, physical injury, and even death. These are not new in communities where Peoples of Color live. These violent acts of racism have and are happening in cities and towns across the United States. The virus of racism cannot be allowed to run rampant.”
As your Bishop, I strongly denounce all forms of physical, mental, and spiritual violence against AAPI and other Peoples of Color. In the Florida-Bahamas Synod, we join our siblings in the AAPI communities in lament and prayer during this difficult time and commit ourselves to working towards a more loving and just future. Our Just Love team is also working to support the AAPI community and continues to strive for racial justice and the promotion of God’s love for all people.
I encourage all congregations to participate in the ELCA’s Day of Lament Against Anti-Asian Racism on March 21st. Resources for this day are available by clicking here.
Please join me in praying for these communities, and for all those who face violence because of the color of their skin:
Gracious and merciful God, our hearts ache for those communities facing racism and violence today. We know that we are one body – the body of Christ – with many members. Lord, please grant us the strength to support and uplift one another, working together as one family united by your loving grace. Help us to become a more loving nation, where all people can live in harmony. We humbly pray for the protection of Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders, especially in these troubling times. We take comfort in your just love and pray that we may share your love with our world. Amen.
+ Bp. Pedro
The Rev. Pedro M. Suarez, Bishop
Florida-Bahamas Synod, ELCA