Reconstructing Judaism and the Reconstructionist Rabbinical Association mourn the devastating loss of life Tuesday in Atlanta, Georgia. Our hearts are filled with sorrow as we learn of the targeting of Asian American women. We stand with Asian American and Pacific Islander (AAPI) members of our Jewish community and with the broader AAPI community in grief and solidarity for those lost: Xiaojie Tan, Daoyou Feng, Delaina Ashley Yaun Gonzalez, and Paul Andre Michels, along with the slain whose names have not yet been released. We send wishes of refu’ah shlaymah — full and complete healing — to the families of the victims, to all affected by these attacks and to our world.
There has been a staggering increase of hate crimes against Asian Americans since last March, with more than 3,800 cases reported, most of them against women. This has created an atmosphere of fear and intimidation across AAPI communities. We recognize that anti-Asian racism is nothing new in this country. We condemn hate of this kind in no uncertain terms, and look forward to a day when all people, of any background, with any color skin, can work, live and pursue meaningful lives in safety and security, and with self-determination.
We raise our voices in prayer and condolence for the victims of this latest mass-shooting: there have been 3,885 shooting deaths in 2021. We also raise them to call for significant investment in examining and dismantling social structures that lead to racialized and gender-based violence. We must push ourselves to address this terrible scourge in ways that would prevent such tragedies.
As our hearts are broken again and again by the images and stories of unjustifiable loss of innocent life, the words of the psalmist ring bitterly familiar: “ad matai – how long will this go on?! … How long will you feed your people tears as their daily bread, making them drink great measures of tears?” (Psalm 80:4-5). May all who have died be held in God’s love. May all who mourn be held in God’s infinite compassion and healing light. May all who are wounded be blessed with a speedy healing. And may the One who created us all lead us to be better than this.
Please take a moment to consider taking some of these action steps from our friends at @NotFreeToDesist:
- Reach out to your AAPI friends and family to let them know you love them.
- Visit NextShark.com for AAPI related news and follow @nextshark @aapiwomenlead and @goldhouseco on social media.
- Visit racismiscontagious.com for resources to address anti-Asian violence.
- Follow the hashtags #StopAsianHate and #HateIsAVirus on social media to keep informed
- Donate to Stop AAPI Hate stopaapihate.org or contribute to some of the many other organizations that work to support, empower, and protect Asian American communities.
- Sign up for bystander intervention training. Visit the Asian American Federation website for resources created in collaboration with the Center for Anti-Violence that offers methods to safely exit a threatening situation and strategies for individuals to intervene if they see someone targeted at aafederation.org/aaf-safety-resources/