A Response To The Rise Of Anti-Asian Racism In America
Dennis Liu, Co-Lead Pastor of Vineyard of Harvest Church and Leader of the Vineyard Asian American Network, shares a response to the rise of anti-Asian racism and violence taking place in America. We encourage you to read and sit with this, explore the resources provided, and ask how we can show up for the Asian American community. Let's continue to engage in the Kingdom work of speaking against injustice, standing with those who are marginalized, and keeping our eyes fixed on seeing the Kingdom come on earth as it is in heaven.
Co-Lead Pastor, Vineyard of Harvest (Walnut, CA)
I pray for God’s hope and healing for you, me, our communities, and our land.
And I commit myself to champion reconciliation, advocate diversity, repent when needed,
and stand with those who are committed to doing the same.
Will you join us?
On behalf of the Asian American Network of the Vineyard Movement, I first express our broken hearts and disillusionment to all our fellow Asian American brothers and sisters in light of the rise of anti-Asian hate made absolutely plain by the tragic shootings in Atlanta. As we struggle to make sense of Asian hate, remember that you’re not alone.
We are hurting together, we mourn together, and we will heal together.
Growing up in an area of New Jersey with relatively few Asians at the time, I faced racism every single day. But the prevailing sentiment demanded us to be “colorblind” and “just all get along.” I felt stifled as I had no choice but to suppress deep emotions stemming from daily discrimination, prejudice, and even blatant racism.
But then I moved to Los Angeles where my neighborhood is 65% Asian. I thought I was safe – but I was wrong! Last year, soon after the onset of COVID-19, I was out for a walk with my wife and my 4 young children. One of my neighbors walked out on the lawn and yelled a racial slur at us. I was deeply hurt and troubled. Is there nowhere safe in this country for Asian Americans like me and my family? Will I consistently and everywhere be targeted simply because of my Asian features?
The 150% increase in anti-Asian violence this past year culminating in the Atlanta tragedy clearly reveals deeply interwoven racism in the fabric of our nation. Moreover, this situation displays the toxic intersection of racism with misogyny, xenophobia, and the epidemic of gun violence. It’s time for change!
And I have hope because we have a great opportunity in this moment.
To those of you who are reaching out to the Asian American community to show your solidarity, thank you for standing with us to show your support. Reaching out to check in with Asian Americans in your neighborhood, your school, your workplace, or your social network goes a long way. Simply asking how we’re doing or asking questions about our story means so much.
Taking the time to get educated on understanding the journey of the Asian American community and having open conversations in your homes or circles of influence about how to embrace Asian Americans and champion diversity are great first steps in making a difference.
For further understanding, I humbly share a few collaborations that I’ve had the opportunity to be a part of in sharing my story as an Asian American.
I hope that these will bring greater understanding and embrace of the Asian American community.
Thank you for thoughtfully engaging this important issue of anti-Asian racism even by reading this sharing. I love this country. My ancestors and I have been in this country for almost 100 years. More importantly, God loves this country. And He yearns to bring healing and reconciliation to a nation that is divided, hurting, and torn apart by racism.
I pray that we would take important steps towards justice and uprooting systematic racism by uncovering and actively fighting against racial prejudices, both in ourselves and in the institutions we are part of.
We bring the hope of Christ to this earth every single time we take a proactive step in living out the power of the gospel. Let us embody the love and justice of God by using our voices to advocate for justice and the marginalized, especially for such a time as this.
To act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God.
The Ferment | Coming To The Table: The day after the Atlanta shootings, I recorded on The Ferment Podcast with host Adam Russell, where I shared vulnerably about navigating as an Asian American and specifically addressed the events in Atlanta.
Responding To Racism From An Asian American Perspective: I also share my experience through this Vineyard USA article about encountering racism as an Asian American and offer some biblical insights on how all of us (including minorities) can reach across ethnic and racial lines to extend healing and reconciliation.
Engaging Anti-Asian Racism Amidst Covid-19: For a deeper context of the history of anti-Asian racism and the connection with the dynamics of Covid-19, you can watch a webinar that my church, Vineyard of Harvest Church, hosted with my friend Daniel Lee who is the director of the Asian American Center at Fuller Seminary.
PBS Series | Asian Americans: I also recommend the PBS series, “Asian Americans.” It’s a five-hour film series that chronicles the contributions and challenges of Asian Americans, the fastest-growing ethnic group in America.
Responding to Anti-Asian Violence with Creativity from the Margins: Michelle Reyes, the vice president of Asian American Christian Collaborative, offers biblically-informed insights on how to respond creatively to anti-Asian violence in her article.
Pastor Dennis Liu is the co-lead pastor of Vineyard of Harvest Church in Walnut, CA. Having grown up in a Christian family in NJ, he feels extremely blessed with a rich Christian heritage. It was during his high school years that he began to sense that the Lord was calling him into full-time ministry. At the time, he ignored the call out of selfishness simply because he wanted to make a lot of money and become successful in the world’s eyes. Subsequently, he enrolled at Cornell University in the fall of 1996 with the intention of going on to medical school upon graduation. The Lord continued to work on his heart through his college years, and the calling of full-time ministry didn’t decrease but grew stronger. After college, the door opened up for him to go out to CA to minister and begin attending Fuller Theological Seminary. So in May 2000, he headed out to CA and began to intern at Vineyard of Harvest Church while pursuing a Master of Arts in Intercultural Studies at Fuller. Over time, the ministry grew, and he joined the staff of the church on a full-time basis as the minister to the English congregation. In June 2005, he graduated from Fuller, and in 2007, he was ordained as a pastor. In 2011, he married Evangeline, who graduated with a Master of Divinity from Talbot Seminary. They have four children – Silas, Levi, Jubilee, and Ezra. Dennis now serves as co-lead pastor of the overall church alongside his father-in-law, Kenneth Kwan, who founded the church. Dennis and Evangeline are excited about the future of this congregation and envision a church that plants many churches!
Vineyard of Harvest Church is a multi-generational, multi-lingual, and multi-cultural church in southeastern Los Angeles County in Southern California. Vineyard of Harvest is an amazing church community on many fronts but in this season of COVID-19 they have faced an additional set of challenges. One of these challenges deals specifically with the anti-Asian racism that has come to the forefront in this time.