The Asian American community has faced a disturbing rise of anti-Asian hate and violence amidst the COVID-19 pandemic. As a community of men gathered in the name of the Lord Jesus and committed to living the gospel, the United States Province of the Order of Friar Servants of Mary condemns in the strongest possible terms unprovoked attacks on Asian Americans, especially the elderly, and the tragic murder of eight innocent persons in Atlanta, six of whom were women of Asian descent.
We agree with Pope Francis that “[e]very brother or sister in need, when abandoned or ignored by the society in which I live, becomes an existential foreigner, even though born in the same country. They may be citizens with full rights, yet they are treated like foreigners in their own country” (Fratelli tutti 97). This quote speaks directly to the type of racism experienced by Asian Americans, for they have been treated as perpetual foreigners in their own country. To be treated forever as a foreigner in one’s own country often leads to being treated as an object to be ignored, bullied, harassed verbally and physically, because one is seen as an outsider and second-class citizen. We deplore such depictions of Asian Americans as less than human, for as Christians we believe that each and every person – regardless of race, nationality, or ethnicity – is created in the image and likeness of God, possessing inherent and undeniable dignity as persons in Christ.
We take this moment to reiterate our commitment to dismantle the sin of racism, to repent of complicity or omission on our part in perpetuating racial discrimination, and to extend our fraternity to all people, with the hope of breaking down walls which divide us from one another and disregard our fundamental equality as beloved children of God. Like Mary, the Mother of Jesus, who stood at the cross of her son as he suffered on Calvary, we recognize Christ suffering again in the lives, bodies and persons of our brothers and sisters who are oppressed by injustice, racism, violence, and economic deprivation. We stand in solidarity with the Asian American community in vehemently denouncing the xenophobia, nativist racism, violence, and trauma experienced by our Asian American brothers and sisters.