People living in San Francisco, China, Korea, Vietnam, Japan, Mongolia, and all over the world celebrate Lunar New Year. The holiday begins on Sunday, January 22 and continues for a week. 2023 is the year of the Rabbit. I love the traditional images of the rabbit and the moon in stories, ceramics, print, and textiles. San Francisco activities kicked off with the Flower Fair on January 14 and will last through the annual Grand Parade on February 4. For many years I lived near Chinatown, so I would buy branches of quince blossoms on Grant or Stockton streets.
During Sunday Studio on Lunar New Year, we will encourage children to read a broad range of children’s books featuring stories of Asian, Asian-American, and Pacific Islander (AAPI) families, as well as do activities related to Lunar New Year. It is important that AAPI children see themselves represented in children’s books, history, as well as in dolls and toys. We celebrate AAPI heritage every day, not just during Lunar New Year. I am thankful that SF Unified School District children and youth have a day off to celebrate and commemorate. In a recent SF Chronicle article Mayor London Breed touts that AAPI hate crimes have lowered in 2023. She acknowledges that people still need to look out for one another. The Presbyterian Church USA has written statements against AAPI hate. Here is a statement entitled ‘We see you among us’ from the Stated Clerk of the General Assembly on March 25, 2021.
To our Asian siblings, we see you among us, and our spirits and our prayers are with you. Our expression of the Body of Christ is richer for your presence.
Just as the PC(USA) stands against every other form of hate and stands for God’s love and justice shown to us by Jesus Christ, we also stand against hatred toward those of Asian descent. It is antithetical to the vision of God’s beloved kin-dom. It is antithetical to the PC(USA) foundations of diversity and inclusion, in which all children of God are beloved and welcomed to belong to God and to one another.
This anti-Asian sentiment, although on the rise in the past year or so, is not new. Therefore, all Presbyterians are urged to not tire or grow weary in standing against hate and violence, and to keep standing for Christ’s love and justice.
Stop AAPI Hate creates a space and provides resources for Bay Area people to act if they see a hate crime. We can educate our children and families to act “if they see something to say something.” They can also watch their thoughts, words, and actions to eliminate micro-aggressions or overt racism. Hate crimes are preventable with proper reporting and education. We want to share family stories that connect us. We want to promote positive narratives and encourage children and families to feel free and safe.