Commitment to Our Community

Columbia Seminary repudiates the insidious impacts of white supremacy that we have seen yet once again in the murders of Asian American women in Atlanta on March 16. The fact that this horrific event happened was not a surprise to our Asian, Asian American, Pacific Islander, and Native Hawaiian colleagues, friends, and students. The hateful rhetoric against Asians and Asian Americans has a long history in this country that in the past year has only escalated due to the xenophobic rhetoric of some in connection with the global pandemic. Anti-Asian racism in the United States has resulted in decades, even centuries, of immigration restrictions such as the Chinese Exclusion Act of 1882, citizenship bans, model minority stereotypes intended to disrupt alliances with other communities of color, and the Japanese internments during WW2. Organizations such as “Stop AAPI Hate” have documented a dramatic increase in violence against Asian and Asian American communities that have already endured unrelenting marginalization.

We stand with our Asian and Asian American community members and denounce the toxic poison of white supremacy. We name white supremacy as a violation of God’s intention for human community; we name it as a malignant force that leads to violent racist acts. Furthermore, we denounce the gendered linkage of white supremacy with misogyny and the hypersexualization of Asian women. We insist that our Asian and Asian American community members here at Columbia Seminary are seen, heard, valued, respected, honored, and protected. We commit ourselves to standing with these beloved community members and supporting their flourishing.

We intend to take specific action in response to this event which has wounded our community in very direct ways. We intend to plan and implement forums for conversation, learning, and advocating specifically focused on the experiences of Asians and Asian Americans. We plan to worship and lament. We also intend to provide immediate pastoral care support for our community members that are traumatized by this blatant display of hate. In addition, we call upon faith communities to stand in solidarity with Asians and Asian Americans and join us in denouncing white supremacy. In all ways, we as a seminary community are committed to our Asian and Asian American colleagues, friends, students, and alumni.

Dr. Leanne Van Dyk

This builds upon President Van Dyk’s original statement on March 17. You can read that initial statement here.