Deputies of Color express concern, sadness over increased violence against Asians and Pacific Islanders

Posted Mar 23, 2021

[Episcopal News Service] The Deputies of Color of the General Convention issued the following statement on March 23 in response to violence and hate directed against people of Asian and Pacific Islander descent.

The Deputies of Color of the General Convention (Asian Caucus, Black Caucus, Indigenous Caucus, and Latinx Caucus) express deep concern and sadness for the increased racial violence against the Asian and Pacific Islander population.  The murders in Georgia on Tuesday, March 16, 2021, reflect the American reality of a society deeply ingrained with racism, white supremacy, and sexism.

We mourn the lives lost and stand with the victims and families.  We are hurt that members of our Asian community wake every morning fearing acts of violence and have become the scapegoats for this pandemic.  We lament the complicity of silence and we express our gratitude for many who stand in solidarity with the Asians and Pacific Islanders during this troubling time.

It is becoming far too common for people acting through social media or in their day-to-day encounters to encourage such hatred. What is happening and the normalization of violence in any form are not acceptable and need to stop.  The destructive power of words has caused lives to be lost.  For too many years, ignorance and hate have been weaponized against people of color.  This hatred and ignorance are another virus amongst us.

We call on all people across The Church to use their voice and power to stop these acts of hatred and racial violence immediately.  We call on all leaders to set an example in their words, their deeds, and all forms of communication to oppose such hatred instead of encouraging it.  We cannot see members of our community as “others” but as people we are in communion with.

President Biden in his recent address on Asian discrimination stated, “this has to change, because our silence is complicity. We have to speak out. We have to act.”  We echo the words of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr: “In the end, we will remember not the words of our enemies, but the silence of our friends”.  We appreciate and affirm Presiding Bishop Michael Curry’s message calling for the followers of Jesus of Nazareth to “stand up, speak up, and show up when hatred or bigotry is directed at any child of God.”  Today, we stand in solidarity with our Asian siblings, and we are committed to reach out to them, offering kindness and love, so that we can become The Beloved Community.  Acts of racial hatred need to end NOW.

Submitted by the Deputies of Color Steering Committee for the 80th General Convention:

Asian Caucus

Ryan Kusumoto, co-chair, Diocese of Hawaii
Alan Murray, co-chair, Diocese of Oregon
Canon Barbara Okamoto Bach, secretary, Diocese of New Jersey
Warren Wong, Diocese of California

Black Caucus
The Hon. Rose Sconiers, chair, Diocese of Western New York
Louis Glosson, vice-chair, Diocese of San Diego
Krisita Jackson, secretary, Diocese Central Florida
Dianne Audrick Smith, Diocese of Ohio
Joe McDaniel, Jr., Diocese of Central Gulf Coast

Indigenous Caucus
The Rev. Br. Simeon Powell, CG co-chair, Diocese of Northern California
Minnie Steele, co-chair, Diocese of Minnesota
The Rev. Michael Sells, secretary, Navajoland Area Mission
The Rev. Rachel Taber-Hamilton, Diocese of Olympia

Latinx Caucus
Wendy Cañas, co-chair, Diocese of New York
The Rev. Nancy Frausto, co-chair, Diocese of Los Angeles
The Rev. Jose Rodriguez, secretary, Diocese of Central Florida
The Rev. Daniel Vélez-Rivera, Diocese of Virginia