A Prayer Against Anti-Asian Violence: For the Protection of (All) our Elders

아기 — Art by Dave Young Kim

TW: Violence, Racism, Elder Abuse

In the first week of February 2021, there were notable incidents of violence against Asian elders, including an 84 year old Thai man Vicha Ratanapakdee who was killed after being pushed in San Francisco.

While violence against the Asian American community is not new, it has been exacerbated by the covid-19 virus. Stop AAPI hate reports that 3 out of 4 Asian Americans are anxious of anti-Asian bias associated with the coronavirus.

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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.

Amen.

Co-Pastor @bethelcommunitysl | Director of Advocacy @fphayward | pastor, activist, writer | married to @eubanksme | co-author of @lentenlament | she/her

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