Category Archives: Current Events

#AAPI Women Strong

From my friend Sung Yeon Choimorrow, executive director of the National Asian Pacific American Women’s Forum (NAPAWF):

“As the country finally comes to realization that AAPI women have experienced racialized misogyny for centuries- the people who have been leading and working in the intersection of race and gender, especially who identify as AAPI surrounded me with so much support. Check in texts, emails, venmoing me lunch money, sending delivery dinner so my kid wouldn’t starve. Among them, there are fierce and kick ass AAPI women leaders who wanted to uplift NAPAWF’s 25 year’s of work- the audacity to believe that we, as AAPI women deserve to be seen and heard. Among them are Christina Baal-Owens and her team Public Wise and Mini Timmaraju who have worked to put together a fundraiser for NAPAWF along with allies at Onward Together. I’m so humbled by the show of support from Christina, Mini, Onward Together and all our special guests. Thank you for your support and affirmation of the important mission of NAPAWF.Please join us for an evening where we center AAPI women and our vision to build power for a future where we can all thrive. April 21st, 7PM ET. Virtual event with tickets ranging from $25 and up.”

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Filed under Antiracism, Current Events

Modest question 1

What if … instead of owning AR-15s to protect ourselves in the event of a natural disaster (per Sen. Lindsay Graham) we worked to build a society in which we all took care of each other at all times including times of natural disaster?

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A prayer for Noble Road Presbyterian Church

Tricia and I served as co-pastors of Noble Road Presbyterian Church in Cleveland Heights, Ohio from September 1985 through September 2000. There Eric was baptized, Sean and Eric joined the church, Sean and Eric were ordained as elders, and Eric was ordained as a minister of the word and sacrament.

After a prayerful process of discernment, the congregation made the faithful, courageous, and probably a bit painful, decision to sell the building. This week the sale of the building was approved by the Presbytery of the Western Reserve and the Heights Libraries Board of Trustees (the purchaser). The church is located next to the Noble Neighborhood branch of Heights Libraries. The purchase will allow Heights Libraries to expand the Noble branch building to broaden the services it offers to the surrounding community. It will allow the church building to continue to be used as a place where the community is served.

Because the church is not a building, the congregation will continue in ministry. The congregation is in the process of discerning what that ministry will look like. No doubt it will be faithful, creative, welcoming and including, and committed to justice.

A prayer for Noble Road Presbyterian Church

God of all places,
we thank you for your gift of the place
known as Noble Road Presbyterian Church.
We remember with gratitude
all who worshipped in the sanctuary,
all who provided music in any form,
all who affirmed faith at the font,
all who proclaimed the gospel in the pulpit,
all who received assurance at the table,
all who studied in the classrooms,
and all who went out with the support of the community
to witness and work for justice
in Cleveland Heights, Greater Cleveland, Ohio, the United States, and around your world.
For all whose lives were touched, blessed, enriched, challenged
by the people of Noble Road Presbyterian Church,
we give you thanks and praise.
Guide the congregation members as they
discern new ways to be a community, to worship, and to serve.
Lead the Heights Libraries as they repurpose the building
to continue to serve the Noble community and the world.
With thanks for what was,
some tears for what is,
and profound excitement for what will be,
we offer all praise to you, O God,
through Jesus Christ our Lord,
in the power of the Holy Spirit. Amen.

this prayer draws on some images from a prayer in the Book of Common Worship

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Filed under Cleveland Heights, Current Events, Family, Friends

Reflections on March 16 – Elisabeth Sophie Lee

Grateful to my friend Elisabeth Sophie Lee for this important post. Here are a couple quotes:

“It is heartbreaking to know that people have to be murdered in order for attention to be brought on anti-Asian racism.”

and

“To my non-AAPI friends: I ask that you educate yourselves by listening to our stories and donating and supporting our businesses, publications and organizations. Share resources on your platforms no matter how small or large your audience is. Call out racist remarks and microaggressions because when you fail to stand up, it is only further normalized. Check up on your Asian American friends — ask us what you can do, how we are feeling, but also give us space if we need it. It is one thing to see your outward support on social media, but it is another to really feel it through a text, a call or a meeting”

Read and heed her whole reflection:

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Filed under Antiracism, Current Events, Human Rights

Virtual prayer vigil

Joining, from afar, the ecumenical prayer vigil held on Sunday, March 21 in the parking lot of the Gold Massage Spa to honor the victims of the Atlanta shooting. This vigil was organized by Korean Central Presbyterian Church of Atlanta, St. Andrew Kim Catholic Church, Emmanuel Korean United Methodist Church, and Lutheran Church of Incarnation. Here are some prayers for the moment.

Christ have mercy.
We thank you for your beloved children whose
lives were taken too soon, too violently in Georgia.
Draw us together to work
against racism and racist violence against Asian Americans.

Christ have mercy.
Inspire us to see each person
in the wholeness you create;
inspire us to see each person
with your gaze of love;
inspire us to see and honor
your image in each person.

Christ have mercy.
Provide love and courage for those who fear
for their safety because of who they are.
Guide us to disrupt systems and practices
that lead to fear and to create a society
in which no one need be afraid.

Christ have mercy.
Grant rest and comfort and strength
to your children who are wearied
by resisting white supremacy.
Sear the consciences of
those who have accepted privilege without interrogation
those who responded with apathy,
those who have expected people who endure racism
to provide the answers and to do the work.
Move us to care for one another
by dismantling systems that wound and drain
your children, our family
and deny your justice and love to all.

Christ have mercy.
Lead us to learn our history –
the history of Asians in America and of Asian Americans –
the history of the violence too often
inflicted by white supremacy
on Asian nations and on Asians in this nation.
May our learning lead us to recognize wrongs done,
repent, and begin the journey to repair.

Christ have mercy.
Move us to demand that
elected representatives in our nation,
in each state and in every community
speak and work to end hate and violence
directed at the Asian American community.

Christ have mercy.
We have work to do.
So much work to do.
Search our hearts,
guide our feet,
hold our hands,
stand by us
as we do the needed work
to disrupt white supremacy
and dismantle the systemic racism
that impacts Asian Americans
and Black, Indigenous, and people of color.

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Filed under Antiracism, Current Events, Prayer

Say their names

Soon C. (Julie) Park, 74

Suncha Kim, 69

Yong A. Yue, 63

Paul Andre Michels, 54

Hyun Jung Park Grant, 51

Xiaojie (Emily) Tan, 49

Daoyou Feng, 44

Delaina Ashley Yaun, 33

Elcias Hernandez-Ortiz, 30 (injured)

Each a child of God.

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Filed under Antiracism, Current Events

Community Calls and Vigils in Response to the Atlanta Tragedy

This information comes from the HANA Center in Chicago. Most events are virtual so one can participate from anywhere.

As we continue to grieve the violent loss of 8 lives in Atlanta, including 6 Asian American women, we would like to share the following list of community calls and vigils over the next few days in response to this tragedy. 

  • Press Conference and Rally to denounce anti-Asian racialized misogyny, held by NAPAWF Chicago Chapter, HANA Center, HEART Women & Girls, Apna Ghar, and KAN-WIN: Click here to watch the recording
  • Immigrant Rights Movement cross-community dialogue, hosted by NAKASEC, the UndocuBlack Network and United We Dream: Friday, March 19th at 7pm CT — Click here to RSVP
  • Solidarity Prayer Vigil with Asian, Black, Latinx, and inter-faith community groups of UCCRO: Saturday, March 20th at 11am CT — Click here to RSVP (*Please note that the time of this event has been changed from 1pm to 11am CT)
  • Virtual Vigil hosted by Asian American Caucus, HANA Center, and other Chicago-area organizations: Saturday, March 20th at 1pm CT — Click here to RSVP
  • Prayer Vigil (held in Korean) hosted by the Chicago Korean Sanctuary Church Network: Sunday, March 21st at 7:00pm CT — To inquire, please email kasanctuarychurch@gmail.com 

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Filed under Antiracism, Current Events, Human Rights

Praying with action after the shooting in Atlanta

Sometimes we pray with words. Sometimes we pray with actions. After the horrific shootings that left eight people, six of whom were Asian Americans and seven of whom were women, dead; today, in a time when hate and violence against Asian Americans is increasing; today seems a time for actions and words both. Here are some action ideas. What would you add?

Contact the President by email or on the contact line at 202-456-1111 and contact your Senators and Representative with the simple message: “What will you do to end anti-Asian hate and violence?” Additional asks could be:
Investigate and prosecute instances of hate crime and hate speech against Asian-Americans;
Increase the level of security and safety for Asian American individuals and communities;
Educate people about Asian history and the significant contributions Asians and Asian-Americans have made to this country.
With thanks to So Jung Kim who suggested a number of these advocacy points in a Facebook post.

Support the work of organizations such as:
Asian-Americans Advancing Justice – Atlanta
National Asian Pacific American Women’s Forum
Asian American Christian Collaborative
CAAAV (Committee Against Anti-Asian Violence)
Asian Americans for Equality in New York.

Take part in a bystander intervention training offered by Asian-Americans Advancing Justice – Chicago.

Learn about the history of Asians in America. Here are some places to start. What else would you add?
Strangers from a Different Shore: A History of Asian AmericansRonald Takaki
The Chinese in America – Iris Chang
Everything You Need to Know about Asian-American History – Himilce Novas and Lan Cao
COVID at the Margins: Anti-Asian Racism in the wake of COVID-19 – a Presentation by the Rev. Laura Mariko Cheifetz, organized by the Presbyterian Self-Development of People Committee
The Chinese Exclusion Act – A special video presentation of American Experience
Asian Americans – a PBS documentary that focuses on discrimination experienced by Asian Americans, the perseverance of Asian Americans, and the roles Asian Americans have played in shaping the nations’ story
With thanks to the Rev. Phil Tom and the Rev. Samson Tso for assembling this beginning list

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Filed under Antiracism, Current Events, Prayer

Words fail and tears flow

A prayer poem in the aftermath of the killing of 8 people of whom 7 were were women and 6 were women of Asian descent
Words fail and tears flow.
They squeeze out of the corners of my eyes,
roll down to tangle in the underbrush of beard
until they break free and splatter on the keyboard.
Words fail and tears flow
for Asian and Asian American women
killed in Atlanta; lives violently taken;
your beloved children too soon gone.
Words fail and tears flow
for mothers, fathers, sisters, brothers
partners, lovers, children,
family and friend
who bear this unspeakable horror tonight
and who carry this unbearable pain into the future.
Words fail and tears flow
for communities terrorized and intimidated
by this and countless other violent acts of hate.
Words fail and tears flow
tears of grief; tears of rage.
As words fail, tears
become prayers for
those who were killed,
those who bear wounds,
those who mourn,
those who know fear,
those who would honor your image in all your precious people
and who would work for a better world.
In the name of the one whose tears flowed
at the death of a friend and for the people of Jerusalem. Amen.

With thanks to the Rev. Dr. Christine Hong for the reminder to pray for the families of the women who were killed.

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Filed under Antiracism, Current Events, Poem, Prayer

A prayer for Breonna Taylor

God for us all,
we remember your beloved child
Breonna Taylor.
We will not forget her,
we cannot forget her.
Nor can we forget the
countless other Black lives
so needlessly and callously taken from us.
We give thanks for Breonna’s life and love.
We cry out that Breonna is gone too soon –
unjustly killed one year ago.
Comfort Breonna’s
family, friends, and community
in their grief.
Inspire and guide those
who continue to witness and work for
justice for Breonna.
May their efforts touch the hearts of people in power
so they repent and reconsider
and heed the call for justice.
May we all work to demand accountability,
deconstruct white supremacy,
and allow justice and equity to roll down.
In Jesus’ name we pray. Amen.
this prayer draws on language from Senator Reverend Ralph Warnock

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Filed under Antiracism, Current Events, Louisville