A Statement about the Atlanta Shooting
We have witnessed tragedy once again this week. On Tuesday, a man went on a shooting spree in the Atlanta, Ga., area and killed eight people, six of whom were Asian American women.
While the motivations behind this attack are still unknown, we do know that it follows a season of anti-Asian racism in the United States, Canada, and around the world since the COVID-19 pandemic began. As such, this attack has shaken the Asian American community, regardless of the shooter’s primary motivations.
As an African American man living in America, I have felt the pain of racism. When racist acts have taken the lives of black folks, it has helped to know that others in the church — black and non-black — stood with me in my pain. Today we extend that solidarity to our Asian brothers and sisters.
Our brothers and sisters of Asian descent are hurting right now, and all of us hurt with them. To these men and women, I want to say that we are thinking about you. We are mourning with you. We pray with you. We care.
To the entire church, I suggest that as an act of Christian unity, we all take time to read and reflect on God’s Diverse and Unified Family. This report was written for and approved by synod in 1996, but it remains amazingly powerful and relevant to all of us today.
I also encourage us to remember the call made in this report for “the whole church—individual members, congregations, assemblies, agencies, and other ministries of the CRCNA. . . . to witness publicly against racism, prejudice, and related unemployment, poverty, and injustices and in defense of all people as imagebearers of God.”
May we all do what we can in our own areas of influence to combat racism and seek reconciliation. May we follow Jesus’ example by engaging with the marginalized, comforting those who mourn, and turning the tables on injustice. And may we all join together in prayer, especially for our Asian American brothers and sisters, right now.
Colin P. Watson, Sr.
Christian Reformed Church in North America