On March 16, 2021, eight people, six of whom were women of Asian descent, were killed in Atlanta-area spas by a man who claimed that he had a sex addiction and saw these spas as sexual temptations that he needed to eliminate. The victims of the shootings were Delaina Ashley Yaun, Paul Andre Michels, Daoyou Feng, Xiaojie Tan, Soon C Park, Hyun J Grant, Suncha Kim, and Yong A Yue (NBC News).
Each one of these victims was made in God’s image and likeness and has loved ones who are now grieving — supposedly because the man who shot them “had a bad day,” according to the local Sheriff’s department captain Jay Baker (NBC News). Reducing this crime to the result of a person’s bad day is not only tragically reductive but also violates the Church’s teaching on the respect for the dignity of human life.
Reducing this crime to the result of a person’s bad day is not only tragically reductive but also violates the Church’s teaching on the respect for the dignity of human life.
As a woman, I find this violence against women to be horrendous and terrifying. As a Catholic, I am angry at hearing this crime described as the result of a Christian man’s sex addiction and his attempt "to take out that temptation" (NBC News). This perspective misapplies Christian teaching on sexual morality by reducing women to sources of temptation and acquitting a man of full responsibility for his actions.
However, as a white woman, I cannot know the depth of how news of this event has impacted people in the AAPI (Asian American and Pacific Islander) community. Below is a list of articles, organizations, and other resources to support them.
May we be open to how God is speaking to us in the midst of injustice and responsive to the movement of the Spirit in rooting out all forms of racism — both in ourselves and in the world around us.
May we be open to how God is speaking to us in the midst of injustice and responsive to the movement of the Spirit in rooting out all forms of racism
Articles by AAPI Women
These articles unpack a history of sexualized racism against AAPI in America and convey some of the experiences and perspectives of AAPI women:
“Purity culture, racism and the violence against Asian women in Atlanta” by Flora x. Tang in America Magazine
“Racism, sexism must be considered in Atlanta case involving killing of six Asian women, experts say” by Kimmy Yam in NBC News
“Atlanta spa shooting suspect's 'bad day' defense, and America's sexualized racism problem” by Nancy Wang Yuen in NBC News
Asian American Christian Collaborative: an organization seeking “to encourage, equip, and empower Asian American Christians and friends of [the] community to follow Christ holistically.”
National Organization of Asians and Pacific Islanders Ending Sexual Violence, “a program under Monsoon Asians & Pacific Islanders in Solidarity, with a mission to support local and international community-based programs and governmental organizations in enhancing their services to victims of sexual violence from the Asian and Pacific Islander communities in the U.S., U.S. Territories in the Pacific, and … Asia.”
Catholic Articles and Resources
“Bishops denounce violence against Asian Americans” by Lucy Grindon in National Catholic Reporter
“At nationwide rallies, Christians stand up for Asian Americans” by Emily McFarlan Miller, Alejandra Molina, Roxanne Stone, and Religion News Service in National Catholic Reporter
Catholic Asian Americans: A Mosaic of Faith from Ave Maria Press
“Opinion: Solidarity is a Christian demand” by Stephen Staten of Black Catholic Messenger
Catholic Women Against Racism: a Facebook community for Catholic women to engage in conversations about the intersections of faith, race, and gender.
USCCB Subcommittee on Asian and Pacific Islander Affairs: This subcommittee “assists the Committee on Cultural Diversity within the Church.” It works “directly with the standing committee and collaboratively with other USCCB committees to affirm the gifts and contributions of Asian and Pacific Island Catholics and to provide more opportunities for them to engage in the life of the Church and shape its evangelizing mission.”
Other Forms of Support
We can also support the AAPI community by shopping at Asian-owned bookstores, small businesses, and fashion brands (particularly PAL Campaign, a Catholic clothing brand founded by Korean-American Catholic Joe Kim).
We can even start by supporting Asian-owned restaurants in our areas. One of my close Vietnamese friends shared, “If someone isn’t even willing to try different Asian foods, then they aren’t ready to have a conversation about the AAPI experience in America.”