ABHMS stands with Asian-Americans against racism amidst coronavirus

VALLEY FORGE, PA (4/22/20)—American Baptist Home Mission Societies (ABHMS) stands with Asian-Americans against racism amidst COVID-19.

Since the outbreak of the coronavirus in the United States, President Trump has insistently called it the “Chinese virus,” while an unnamed White House official has described it as “Kung Flu.” As a consequence of this inflammatory rhetoric, many Chinese as well as Asian-Americans who are mistakenly perceived as Chinese have been harassed and even physically attacked.

“The resurgence of xenophobia in this time of coronavirus has no place in the United States or around the world,” says the Rev. Florence Li, ABHMS’ national coordinator of Asian Ministries, which is part of ABHMS’ Intercultural Ministries. “We stand with our Asian-American communities and encourage followers of Jesus Christ to reflect on the Apostle Paul’s teaching in I Corinthians 12:13: ‘For in the one Spirit we were all baptized into one body—Jews or Greeks, slaves or free.’”

Racism against Asian-Americans has a long history in the United States. In 1882, the Chinese Exclusion Act was intended to curb the influx of Chinese immigrants. In 1905, Korean immigration was stopped. In 1923, Asian Indians were denied naturalized citizenship. In 1934, Filipino immigration was reduced to 50 individuals yearly. Approximately 122,000 Japanese-Americans were sent to internment camps during WWII.

The Alliance of Asian American Baptist Churches (AAABC) has released a “Statement of Concern regarding COVID-19 Pandemic and the Anti-Asian Racism.”

“We call upon all of our brothers and sisters of all racial/ethnic backgrounds to unite with us in publicly condemning this rise of racism and xenophobia in every way possible,” said Katharine Hsiao, president and coordinator of AAABC.

ABHMS offers COVID-19 resources online. For information about ABHMS’ Intercultural Ministries, visit abhms.org/Ministries/Intercultural Ministries or contact the Rev. Salvador Orellana, ABHMS’ director of Intercultural Ministries, at salvador.orellana@abhms.org.

American Baptist Home Mission Societies partners with American Baptists to promote Christian faith, cultivate Christ-centered leaders and disciples, and bring healing and transformation to communities across the United States and Puerto Rico.

American Baptist Churches USA is one of the most diverse Christian denominations today, with approximately 5,000 congregations comprised of 1.3 million members, across the United States and Puerto Rico, all engaged in God’s mission around the world.