First of all, I would like to express my gratitude to the Synod of the Sun leader, who actively supported the conference of the Korean church leaders, and to the pastors and elders who are busy at the front line of the ministry in our communities.
For about an hour (on April 6th 7pm), we had a discussion on the following topics: How the Asian hate that is happening right now affects Korean Community; why do you think this has happened; and finally, how should we cope with it. During our discussion, the Synod leader and the EPs (Executive Presbyters) of each presbytery listened to our story through English interpretation.
In fact, after the Atlanta shootings, there have been reports of Koreans being attacked in at a store operated by Korean Americans in Houston and others being robbed on the street. During our discussion, we feel like the greatest damage is the psychological and emotional anxiety that Koreans are feeling right now.
Adults are impacted, but I was particularly shocked to hear the impacts of mental health in Asian-American children who are experiencing even greater impacts right now. Children who love shopping and who like to go to the park are now refusing to go out, and when asked why, they say “Because we are Asian”.
A junior high school student who went to the shopping mall a few days ago because of her mother's business, said she deliberately wore a hat so that people could not recognize her as Asian. In a way, it hurts a lot to think that the reactions children are feeling now are more serious and sensitive than adults. The next generation of racism and its impacts are unfolding right before our eyes.
As to why this is happening to Koreans and other Asians, some leaders, say that the Asian hate is linked to political reasons. Others say that the media is encouraging more anxiety and conflict. Still others add the psychological pressures from Covid 19 and believe that it is being expressed in anger against ethnic minorities and certain Asians. We also spoke about the social isolation of Koreans. Amazingly, our Korean churches also suggested that their ministries are not limited to Koreans, but rather needs to expand into the local community, and if they are connected with good relationships with their neighbors, they will be able to reduce some racial discrimination. However, they also pointed out that, in fact, it is not easy to blend into local communities because Korean churches are getting older and have culture and language limitations.
I came up with a lot of useful thoughts through this conference.
First of all, our Korean church leaders are hoping for peace and coexistence, not the anxiety and anger that the world is currently experiencing. I hope that the presbytery, synod, and General Assembly are all interested and supportive as we work out ways to live out the Gospel.
Of course, as the church leaders said, we Koreans have a lot to do, too. However, in order to solve the problem of racism, I think that it is impossible to solve the problem only by awakening only Koreans or Asians. A solution will take everyone accepting responsibility for it.
The problem of racism is not yesterday's problem. It is a social issue that has been happening in America for a long time. Last year, there was black people movement, before that a focus on Hispanics, and this year is becoming an Asian focus, and who is next?
When it comes to racism, I think blacks, whites, Asians, and Hispanics are all potential victims and perpetrators. So, just because Asians are the target of attack right now, I hope that the Asians will not be given all the attention, and if the world is quiet, we will not let go of that interest.
I hope that the campaign to Dismantle Racism in our denomination will continue to expand to churches of ALL RACES. I hope that we are all invited to the table and able to participate.
The world judges and guides people based on our external look, culture, and skin color, etc. However, the church teaches the standard by which God alone is to judge people. I believe it is so important to teach about racism in the church and that it is the church's mission as light and salt in the world.
White, Black, Asian, and Hispanic church leaders, pastors through their sermons, Bible school teachers through their Bible studies, teach all members of all of the congregations-white, black, Asian, Hispanic and especially growing children! Help children respect and accept racial diversity!
And now, please look around the small churches in each community that are being hurt by Asian hate. Your simple greetings can give them great comfort and courage.
God Bless, y’all!
Synod of the Sun /Moderator
같이 갑시다/Let’s Go Together!/Gatchi Gapsida!