NEW YORK – United Methodist Women, the largest denominational organization for women, today mourned the lives lost during a shooting rampage targeting Asian American women in the Atlanta area. Emily Jones, executive for racial justice, today released the following statement on behalf of the organization:
“Today, United Methodist Women mourns with the Asian American and Pacific Islander communities. We mourn with the victims’ families. We decry both the recent upsurge in attacks against Asian American communities and the racist myths upon which they’re built. We lament the long-standing and lethal tradition of sexualized violence targeting Asian, Asian American and Pacific Islander women in the United States. Until the violence ends, we weep as Jesus weeps. We renew our commitment to fight for racial justice for all people while paying specific attention to the ways race and gender intersect to uniquely target women of color.
“We also see this situation for what it is: from the start of the global pandemic, Asian American and Pacific Islander communities have been unfairly targeted. They have been the undeserving recipients of escalating intimidation, profiling and hate crimes. Unfortunately, this process is distressingly familiar, recycling centuries-old racist stereotypes with a 21st century twist. There is a long history of anti-Asian racism in the United States. It has been expressed through institutional policies including the Chinese Exclusion Act and the internment of Japanese people, and through interpersonal acts of violence, including the murder of Vincent Chin, the targeting of South Asian communities in the early 2000s and most recently the surge in hate crimes during this period of pandemic. Behind this violence lies a series of damning lies, including the perpetual foreigner myth and the model minority myth. AAPI individuals and communities have often become national scapegoats in periods of economic and social hardship. The sexualized targeting of Asian American women, specifically, in this most recent act of murderous violence – race+gender violence with a long and horrifying history – highlights the intersectional nature of oppression and makes clear the need for an anti-racist response that is also gender-sensitive.
“As we process this moment and the incredible grief it brings to so many United Methodist Women members and friends, we once again challenge ourselves and the broader community to confront and defeat racism in all its manifestations, including violence against AAPI communities.”