As people of faith, who affirm the value of all people, during this week we especially stand in solidarity with our Asian sisters and brothers … the same as we choose to stand with people of color and every race against all prejudice and hate. We need to put an end to racist white nationalism, using what privilege we have to end that privilege, because we affirm that God made each of us, and loves each of us, regardless of our national origin or creed or orientation or ability.
We are grieved by the discrimination, and now the killings, targeting the Asian community, and so we will not remain silent. We will continue to speak out loud and clear against all forms of racism, or antisemitism, or attacks against our brothers and sisters of Islamic faith, or others. We pledge to offer not only our prayers, but also our active love by confronting prejudice wherever we see it. We want those who are being put down and attacked to know of our support and encouragement, as we continue to advocate for all God’s people ... and we pledge to continue until such as time as justice and peace prevail, and such work is no longer needed.
In response to those who feel prejudice and hatred towards others, we pray that they might re-examine their feelings in order to gain a more positive outlook. In the heat of the moment, we invariably fail to analyze a problem coolly. Thus we need to continuously train our mind to look at the positive side of whatever we perceive. We cannot miss the tremendous contributions that the Asian Americans -- as well as other ethnicities, be we Black, White, Red, or Brown -- have made in the formation and development of this great country of ours. Starting with the construction of the western portion of the first transcontinental railroad and western railroads, Chinese immigrants made very significant contributions in mining, farming, high-demand consumer goods, restaurant and film industries. Having helped set up the fundamental structures of this country, Asian Americans are an integral part of us, many serving as our doctors, scientists, engineers and other professionals. We are enriched by the shared culture, even enjoying each other’s foods, and eating together — breaking bread together — is in our faith traditions a powerful symbol of shared life and experience, hospitality and acceptance.
As faith leaders, we also know that teachers, parents, relatives, friends, and community leaders have significant power to help people see the positives and learn the facts. We encourage each of us to do our duty to others, so that peace and harmony might be strong among us. We may not be able to completely eliminate prejudice and hate in our society, but we can surely minimize it. The prayer of our hearts is not only for the victims in Atlanta and their families, but also that we might respond to this tragedy by committing ourselves to support each other, and better learn the paths of peace and harmony. Let us stand together against this discrimination in our midst.
Enten Eller, Ambler Church of the Brethren
Shamsul Huda, North Penn Mosque
Members of the Wissahickon Faith Community Association