I write today in response to the horrific shootings in Atlanta earlier this week that claimed the lives of eight people.
Six of the victims were Asian American women – representing a painful reality that many of our friends in the Asian, Asian-American and Pacific Islander (AAPI) communities already knew – that racism, violence, and hate crimes against Asians, Asian-Americans and Pacific Islanders continues to persist, as evidenced by the close to 3,800 hate incidents over the past year that have been documented by the Stop AAPI Hate organization. And these are only the incidents that have been recorded.
We know that our AAPI community members are experiencing an incredible amount of fear, pain, outrage, and every other emotion in the wake of this most recent attack.
Please know we are here – we are listening – and we are ready to help. The BC High community, formed and informed by our Jesuit, Catholic identity, condemns hatred, racism, and violence wherever it appears.
We hope you join us in this prayer, shared by Mr. Emil Penarubia for our community on Wednesday morning:
“Earlier this year, an 84-year-old Thai man, Vicha Ratanapakdee, was taking a morning walk in San Francisco and a young man ran up to him and shoved him so hard that he hit his head on the pavement and died.
The following is a prayer by Erina Kim-Eubanks in response to that act of violence. In the middle of the poem, you’ll hear several different words in different languages, they all mean elders in the different languages.”
God of our elders, Creator of sacred bodies,
we are outraged and we are scared.
We pray for the streets we inhabit
to be exorcised of white supremacy and violence,
for your shalom and togetherness to dwell-
filling our Chinatowns and driveways with
the safety of home, the spirit of family.
We pray for your protection upon our elders-
that our popos and bà ngoại, lolos and Bpòo,
halmonis and niam pog would all encounter space
to live, move, and have being-
knowing that they are not forgotten,
their bodies are not expendable.
We pray for protection upon them-
for hands that have folded dumplings and braided our hair
feet that have walked on many different shores
eyes that have witnessed both atrocities and new birth,
ears that have heard slurs in foreign tongues,
backs that carried the generations,
and hearts that are both resilient and fragile
in a moment when their existence has become a target.
And as we pray for their protection,
guard us too from division and othering
that places blame on “those people” –
driving wedges between communities,
mistaking criminalization for accountability,
multiplying harm instead of healing it.
Give us a vision of the world in which all our elders are honored,
because we see each other’s families as our own.
Grace Cotter Regan P’12