April 2021 – The recent tragic violence in Atlanta that left eight people dead, including six Asian-American women, is another incident in a disturbing trend of racially charged attacks against Asian, Asian-American and Pacific Islander individuals in the U.S.
In response, Drew students organized “Stop AAPI Hate,” a virtual event supported by the Chinese Culture Club, the Theological Student Association, the Korean Caucus, the International Students Services Office and the University Chaplain’s Office. The Drew community gathered to “not only acknowledge what happened in Atlanta, but to also recognize the U.S.’s long history of anti-Asian racism and gender-based violence…and bear witness to Asian pain, grief and anger,” said Sarah Williams, Master of Divinity student and president of the Theological Student Association.
"I'd like to hope for a better future by increasing right awareness, compassion for others and solidarity."
“It’s important to raise awareness of the hatred and discrimination against AAPI people that happens everyday,” said Eunchul Jung, Graduate Division of Religion student at the Theological School and president of the Korean Caucus, as he reflected on several personal accounts of discrimination since moving to the U.S. in 2015. “Personally, I don’t want to hate the haters…but instead, I’d like to hope for a better future by increasing right awareness, compassion for others and solidarity.”
“The recent carnage in Atlanta is irrational and absolutely deplorable,” said Daniel E. Shin, E. Stanley Jones Chair of Evangelism and associate professor of theology and world Christianity. “We grieve and lament in remembrance of the innocent victims, stand with their families and communities and denounce senseless killings fueled by racism. The threat of violence and destruction against the AAPI communities, other minorities and the multi-ethnic realities of the U.S. must be met with courage to risk an unknown but a better future together, unshakeable solidarity in civility and co-humanity and ongoing work to ensure safety and flourishing for all people.”
Theological School Dean Melanie Johnson-DeBaufre stated that the school, which has a strong Korean history and presence, is grieving. “This moment again reflects the structural realities of white supremacy, this at the intersections of anti-Asian and gender-based violence,” said Johnson-DeBaufre in a statement. “Again the tools of our faith traditions are being weaponized for these purposes. And, again, those facing this moment are part of us. Asian, Asian-American, and Pacific Islander students, faculty, staff, and alumni make Drew what it is. Korean and Korean-Americans are part of the very fabric of Drew’s history, present, and future. We cannot stand by as friends, classmates, and colleagues carry the heavy burden of loss, erasure, and fear of violence.”