PART 1 of 2: “Violence and Harassment to Asian-American & Pacific Islanders (AAPIs)”
From time-to-time, our newly formed STA Social Concerns Ministry will offer reflections and insights into the “Seven Themes of Catholic Social Teachings.” The Themes can be found on our parish website under “Social Concerns.” Today, we present teachings related to two themes: “Life and Dignity of the Human Person” and “Solidarity.”
Following the recent deadly shootings at three businesses in the greater Atlanta area and the dialogue that has been ignited about other reported incidents of aggression against people of Asian-American and Pacific Island descent, on March 22nd, Bishop Oscar A. Solis of Salt Lake City, and chairman of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops’ (USCCB) Subcommittee on Asian and Pacific Island Affairs, decried the culture of death, hatred and violence that underlies these incidents and called for solidarity with the vulnerable. The full statement is on our STA “Social Concerns” webpage. Here is an extract:
“I am deeply saddened to hear of another mass shooting that has tragically taken the lives of eight people and has renewed concerns about a rise of hostility against individuals of Asian descent. As bishops, we decry any kind of hatred and violence, particularly based on race, ethnicity, or sex. We pray for the families and friends of those who were lost, and for their communities, who may feel unsafe and vulnerable at this time. This latest incident has prompted national dialogue on addressing anti-Asian bias that has taken the form of numerous other acts of physical violence, verbal attacks and destruction of property against those of Asian descent over the last year that have left communities across the country traumatized.
“’[W]e must support all victims of violence and stand in solidarity with those who are vulnerable in our communities.’ More broadly, we must always stress that every human being is a brother or sister in Christ, created in the image and likeness of a loving God. … . [L]et us remember God’s love and mercy for each one of us and renew the call for conversion of heart, that we may be more united to God’s love and share it with all of our neighbors.”
- What ways can we show personal support and communal solidarity with AAPI persons (and others who are vulnerable to bias) who experience these incidents and threats of aggression?
- What do we know about the rich cultural history of AAPIs in our country and local community? (See PART 2 “NEWS” in next week’s bulletin.)
- For background on recent acts of aggression in our country and area against AAPI persons, see NYTimes article, 04/09/2021, “Swelling Anti-Asian Violence”, https://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2021/04/03/us/anti-asian-attacks.html .
- USCCB, Open Wide Our Hearts: The Enduring Call to Love – A Pastoral Letter (2018)[teachings on treatment of all vulnerable populations] https://www.usccb.org/resources/open-wide-our-hearts-enduring-call-love-pastoral-letter-against-racism
- LEGAL ASSISTANCE for victims: N.J. Division on Civil Rights: Policy and Legal help: Policy: https://www.njoag.gov/wp-content/uploads/2021/01/Anti-Racist-Statement-Final-1.18.21.pdf . File Complaints: https://bias.njcivilrights.gov/en-US/ or phone 1.833.NJDCR4U.
Call for advocacy: On April 22nd, the U.S. Senate voted favorably for S. 937, the “COVID-19 Hate Crimes Act,” https://www.govtrack.us/congress/bills/117/s937 . It now goes to the U.S. House for a vote. Please consider contacting your Representative Mikie Sherrill (if you resided in 11th District) and ask her to vote for S.937. For: Bloomfield (part, north of Belleville Ave.), Nutley, Montclair (part). Her contact information: https://sherrill.house.gov or phone (973) 526-5668 or 202-225-5034. Or 10th District: Rep. Donald M. Payne, For: Bloomfield (part, south of Belleville Ave.), Glen Ridge, Montclair (part). His contact information: https://payne.house.gov or phone: (202) 225-3436 or (973) 645-3213.
To talk to us about our new Social Concerns Ministry, contact our parish receptionist: (973) 338-9190.