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Dismantling Divisive Discourse: A Response to Pastor Ed Young’s Feb. 25 Sermon

Written by Swati Narayan, Houston Director of AAPI Community Safety & Belonging

 

In our nation, where diversity is celebrated as our greatest strength, it is disheartening to come across false narratives like those presented in Pastor Ed Young's sermon on February 25  in Houston, Texas. The sermon portrays immigrants, including those from Asian American and Pacific Islander (AAPI) backgrounds, as threats to our society. What's

even more unsettling is that his dehumanizing language received applause from many members of the 18,000-strong congregation who place their trust in his leadership.


As a TAAF City Partner actively fighting to end anti-Asian hate, we invite you to challenge Pastor Young’s perspectives with the reality of our community’s invaluable contributions, and stand in solidarity with all of America’s resilient and thriving immigrant communities.


America holds many painful chapters of discrimination and injustice against AAPI immigrants. From the Chinese Exclusion Act, which barred Chinese laborers from entering the country and prevented their naturalization, to the internment camps of World War II, where Japanese Americans were forcibly detained without due process—it's a history marked by xenophobia and racism. More recently, the 9/11 attacks ushered in a new era of hate crimes, specifically Islamophobia, and during the COVID-19 pandemic, false narratives from leaders contributed to a devastating spike in violence and hatred directed at AAPI individuals.


Despite a history of othering that persists today, we are more than just numbers on a page or faces in a crowd; we are the heartbeat of innovation and tenacity in America. Asian Americans flavor our neighborhoods with vibrant cultures, delicious cuisines, and rich histories. We are the artists, entrepreneurs, scientists, caregivers, teachers, and essential workers who proudly invest  our talents and skills to help our country thrive. From mom-and-pop shops to tech startups, our businesses add vitality to the economy. In healthcare, Asian Americans play crucial roles as researchers, caregivers, and frontline warriors who risk their lives to save ours, especially during the darkest days of the pandemic when anti-Asian hate was on the rise. 


From these few industries alone, we see reality runs contrary to the words spoken from the pulpit of Second Baptist Church. By perpetuating harmful stereotypes and racist tropes, disseminating unsubstantiated and untrue claims, weaponizing religion, and sowing fear and division from his pulpit, Pastor Young undermines the fabric of our society. His words sow seeds of distrust and animosity, contributing to a climate of hate and discrimination. This is another example of the insidious normalization of hate and bigotry, even in our most sacred spaces. 


We cannot turn a blind eye to such rhetoric, which puts many communities in danger. Today, we need the collective courage to stand up, speak out, and support all immigrant communities, whose vulnerability is rising exponentially. 


At Daya, we are increasing our expertise and commitment to breaking down walls of division with bridges that celebrate the strength of our differences. As a TAAF City Partner, Daya provides programming and direct services to prevent and respond to hate. If you or someone you love has experienced an incident of hate, we invite you to contact Swati Narayan, Houston Director of AAPI Community Safety & Belonging at swati@dayahouston.org or 713-981-7645 for support and resources.


When we embrace our diversity and recognize the humanity in each other, we create a safer future where everyone can write their own story of hope and belonging.


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