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Statement on March 16 shootings in Atlanta

Statement on March 16 shootings in Atlanta

March 19, 2021 | ATLANTA 

The March 16 fatal shooting of eight people, including six Asian women, at Atlanta area massage parlors brings to our doorstep a national and global problem of deep and immediate concern to the General Board of Global Ministries and the entire United Methodist Church. The increase in violence against Asian Americans, attributed in part to the COVID-19 pandemic, is the opposite of what both our faith and our dependence on fair and democratic behavior require. 

Global Ministries, with headquarters in Midtown Atlanta, stands in solidarity with the diverse Asian American communities of the metropolitan area in this time of anxiety, distrust and even anger. We affirm our sense of oneness with the numerous Asian American United Methodists in Georgia, including members of our staff. We urge local and state authorities to fully investigate these acts as racially motivated hate crimes to take measures to protect Asian American communities and businesses in the future.

Just hours prior to the Atlanta murders, the United Methodist Asian American Language Ministry Plan, a Global Ministries affiliate, joined with the National Federation of Asian American United Methodist and other groups in the release of a comprehensive study and condemnation of rising anti-Asian violence in this country. The reports cited 2,800 documented incidents of anti-Asian hatred in the U.S. since COVID-19 was declared a pandemic in March 2020. 

The statement attributes these acts to a systemic trend brought on by the pandemic and the prevailing political policies of a year ago. 

The United Methodist Church has a long history in support of racial justice and the assertion of the equal value of all persons. Global Ministries, as a mission agency, has for 202 years worked to share the love of God across borders and among cultures. 

Global Ministries joins the Asian American Language Ministry Plan and other Asian American colleagues in supporting justice for all and in urging all United Methodists and all Americans, indeed, all people, to end complicity with hatred, racial and ethnic disparagements and stereotypes based on difference. We can join with others in our community and across our personal networks to denounce violence against all people.

Let us take this opportunity to practice our skills as peacemakers in the image of Christ, disciples of transformation moving from a world of hate and oppression to one filled with love, justice and mercy. 

Global Ministries is committed to providing support to Asian American communities in a variety of ways, including resources through annual (regional) conferences. 

The month of May is known as Asian Heritage Month, in recognition of the great contribution of Asian men and women to global culture, science and philosophy. Let us make that month and the weeks leading up to it a time of special prayer and action on behalf of respect and peace for Asian American persons, families and communities. 

Bishop Hee-Soo Jung 

President, Board of Directors 

Roland Fernandes 

General Secretary