I woke up to the news of the violence against eight people, including six women of Asian descent, in Atlanta, Georgia. In some ways, it may seem that this news is unrelated to Spirit in Action’s work. But as I thought about it more, I could see how confronting this hate is tied to the work of our organization and of our partners.
This incident is only the most recent incident of violence against people of Asian descent. As I read more, I learned Asian people all over the world have felt increased hostility. This seem to be a result of the hateful rhetoric connecting the coronavirus pandemic to China.
These hateful acts are not only in the United States. Anti-Asian racism also exists in African countries, where Chinese and Indians are seen as outsiders, even though many have lived there for generations. Sex workers and LGBTI+ people are also often targets for violence, both within their families and in the community.
Spirit in Action supports organizations that are working with victims of violence, and organizations that are promoting tolerance, understanding, and peace. MILCOT in Uganda is working to help women, many who are sex workers, rebuild lives after gender-based violence. Universal Love Alliance trains youth on accepting all people and encourages pastors to preach acceptance of LGBTI+ people. Empowering Communities as Actors for Transforming Societies (e-CATS) holds Listening Circle workshops to teach non-violence and conflict resolution in the urban informal settlements of Nairobi, Kenya.
The SIA North American Board is also continuing to do work to uncover unconscious bias and to question the legacy of colonialism that is built into the aid and charity sector.
Learning about the experiences of others, listening to how they experience the world, and recognizing our blind spots are all necessary steps in Spirit in Action’s mission to fulfill God’s promise for abundant life for all, and our vision for all people to live up to their full potential.
No matter where you are in the world, no matter your skin color or orientation, there is work to do to get more comfortable with people who are different, and to confront the ways that each of us have benefited from privileges that lift us up at the expense of others. Thank you for joining us in this sacred and holy work.