Next month, the first anniversary of the Atlanta spa shootings, where 6 Asian women were massacred, will be upon us. While it is hard to think about those horrific events, we must not forget the lives lost, as well as the racism and misogyny that Asian women in the States have endured throughout U.S. history. One year later, Asian American women are still grieving and facing violence, and it is important for the church to continue to weep with and journey with them. This blog post features artwork, songs, and prayers by Asian American women that name the painful realities that Asian American women experience.
As a caveat to worship planners/leaders, it would be wise to include Asian American women from your congregation or community in the planning and leading of worship services that acknowledge the anniversary of the shootings.
Bowl of Bitter Memories (image above) by Grace Hoover, @hapahoovers
Used with permission. Email firstname.lastname@example.org for usage permissions. Artist statement:
“‘Bowl of Bitter Memories’ is a painting I worked on upon coming back from sabbatical last fall. It’s a deeply personal reflection of what it felt for me to be an Asian American woman/mother/daughter during 2020-2021, during which we bore witness to much pain and grief as our elders were subjected to violent attacks, as our people were told to “go the f@$k back to where we came from,” as my sisters were slaughtered, my siblings worked to exhaustion in the ICU and ER caring for the dying, as my children were separated from their friends and family and teachers and support systems, as our restaurants shut down, as our viewpoints became more worthy than our personhood, and as we collectively forgot what it is to love and be loved. Sometimes, the only thing that helps us heal and move past pain is beauty. I’m grateful for yet another year and ever hopeful humanity will run towards restoration. But every now and then, I just need to sit with the grief. And beauty helps.”
God Who Sees Us – Gloria Fanchiang
I wrote this song of lament during the pandemic in response to the rise of anti-Asian hate and the Atlanta spa shootings. The lyrics were inspired by the story of Hagar (in Genesis 16), a deeply oppressed woman and foreigner, forgotten by her world, yet seen and cared for by God. In the recording below, I incorporated the erhu, my great-grandfather’s instrument, as a tribute to my Taiwanese roots. For music charts and usage permissions email email@example.com. Live acoustic and Mandarin Chinese versions of the song are available here.
Psalm 88 – Judy Wu Dominick
This setting of Psalm 88, one of the most sorrowful psalms in the Bible, uses pentatonic melodies. The song was written before the pandemic but captures feelings of heaviness and despair. Click here for lyrics/chord chart. Permission is granted for non-commercial use in worship.
A Prayer for my AAPI Sisters: As We Face Unceasing Violence – Erina Kim-Eubanks
Written in March 2021. This prayer is free to use but the author requests users to notify her of usage (firstname.lastname@example.org).
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Bonus: Confession & Affirmation Prayers – Rev. Dr. Kevin Doi
In the video below (beginning at 35:35) Rev. Dr. Kevin Doi invites men in particular to join in a prayer of confession of patriarchy and misogyny. The confession prayer is then followed by a prayer of affirmation of women. Permission is granted for non-commercial use in worship.