Statement from the bishops on Atlanta shootings and anti-Asian violence

The bishops have issued the following statement regarding the March 16 shootings in Atlanta and anti-Asian violence.

The shootings in Atlanta this week are yet one more manifestation of violent hatred and racism in our nation. While details of the tragedy will yet emerge, any attempt to avoid confronting the racist dimension of these attacks ignores the toxic intersection of racism with misogyny, xenophobia, and the epidemic of gun violence.

Asians and Asian-Americans have faced violence and racism in America since the mid-19th century, from patterns of horrific vigilante attacks, to exclusionary immigration policies, to forced camp internment. A recent wave of anti-Asian violence and hate crimes has been unleashed, targeting women and the elderly, in particular. Inflammatory language normalized by political leaders has scapegoated Asians during the pandemic, with hate speech inevitably leading to violence.

We decry this normalization of hate speech, as we decry all forms of verbal and physical violence manifesting racism. We call upon all members of our diocese to rededicate ourselves to the work of anti-racism and genuine transformation.

Last month both of us participated in a joyous celebration of Chinese New Year, led by members of our longstanding Chinese congregation at the Cathedral Church of St. Paul. Our life together is enriched by the presence of that congregation, as well as the clergy and lay people of Asian descent throughout our diocese. We rejoice that they are a part of us, and we a part of them. On behalf of our diocese, we stand with them and with all people of Asian and Pacific descent in this moment of vulnerability and grief.

The Rt. Rev. Alan M. Gates, Bishop Diocesan
The Rt. Rev. Gayle E. Harris, Bishop Suffragan

Find a statement on the Atlanta shootings from Bishops United Against Gun Violence here.  Bishop Gates and Bishop Harris are members of this coalition of Episcopal Church bishops working to curtail the epidemic of gun violence in the United States.