We gather in unity from diverse backgrounds to express love and solidarity with the Black community.
We are churches and organizations who affirm justice as part of the gospel proclamation.
This vigil is a gathering of Asian American Pacific Islander (AAPI) Christians and churches from Southern California expressing love and solidarity with the Black community.
We gather in unity from diverse backgrounds, theological convictions, and denominational affiliations to demand equal justice for Black lives. We confess the ways that AAPI peoples have been complicit in anti-blackness, while also rejecting the false narratives of silence and inaction that erase the history of our social action. Joining our Christian and activist ancestors, we commit ourselves in redemptive hope to the collective pursuit of racial justice and the dismantling of unjust systems for the glory and honor of our Creator.
1. Affirm racial justice as part of the gospel proclamation and obedience
Our convictions about racial justice are rooted in who God is and how God sees and loves us. Thus, it is deeply a theological matter. God created all humanity in divine image and established our common worth and dignity. Because God has entered and works in our history, God calls us towards faithful discipleship in our particular cultural and sociopolitical contexts, commanding us to love all of our neighbors as ourselves. The gospel of Jesus Christ proclaiming the coming of God’s kingdom of justice and peace covers all aspects of our world, including the political realm.
2. Activate and educate AAPI Christian community toward solidarity and support for the Black community
We seek to educate and activate the AAPI Christian in the particular ways that we can express our solidarity and support for the Black community. We repent of anti-Black racism within our communities and the ways that we have been complicit in perpetuating injustice. We commit ourselves to concrete spiritual, theological, and political actions in our communities and society as a whole towards God’s shalom.
3. Change the divisive narrative that separates AAPI and Black communities
American society and media have pitted the AAPI and Black communities against each other, using the “model minority myth” to drive a wedge between AAPI and Black communities. We recall historical solidarity, when members of the AAPI and Black communities worked together for racial justice, and recognize the struggles of Black Civil Rights leaders, whose sacrifices have benefited all Americans including the AAPI community. We seek to change the false prevailing narrative with our collective public expression of solidarity and support.
Alliance of Asian American Baptist Churches (ABC/ISA)
Asian American Christian Collaborative (AACC)
Asian American Pacific Islander Christians for Social Justice (AAPI–CSJ)
Asian Pacific American Religions Research Initiative (APARRI)
Bethel Grace Church, Irvine
Center for Asian American Theology and Ministry at Fuller Seminary
Cerritos Baptist Church
China Evangelical Seminary North America
Claremont School of Theology
Evergreen Baptist Church of Los Angeles
Faith and Community Empowerment (FACE)
Faith United Methodist Church, Torrance
Fellowship Center for Racial Reconciliation
First Baptist Church of Pasadena
Gardena Genesis Community Church
Inglewood First United Methodist Church
International Theological Seminary
InterVarsity Christian Fellowship – Asian American Ministries
InterVarsity Christian Fellowship – Greater Los Angeles Region
ISAAC – Innovative Space for Asian American Christianity
Logos Evangelical Seminary
New City Church of Los Angeles
Pannell Center for African American Church Studies at Fuller Seminary
Presbytery of San Gabriel (PCUSA)
Racial Justice Coalition of Greater Pasadena
Saint Mark United Methodist (South LA)
St. Mark Presbyterian Church (Newport Beach)
Symposia Covenant Church
Tapestry LA Church
The Garden Church
The Gathering – a Space for Asian Pacific American Spirituality
The House LA
Union Church of LA
Vineyard of Harvest
Why are we holding this event at Leimert Park, Crenshaw district?
Leimert Park is an historic landmark in Crenshaw, part of South Central Los Angeles. After their incarceration during World War II, Japanese Americans returned from the concentration camps to live here and in the surrounding area because they were one of the few neighborhoods that were welcoming. Many Japanese Americans attend Susan Miller Dorsey High School and several neighborhood homes have Japanese-style gardens as an enduring physical remembrance of the presence of Japanese American gardeners in those times. We also acknowledge the struggles against displacement and gentrification that this community has been enduring for the last 10-15 years.
What do I bring to the Vigil?
Bring a mask and wear comfortable shoes. There is limited shade, and wearing sunscreen or a hat is recommended. You can also bring your own water, snacks, and hand sanitizer. In general, “travel light”, bringing only what you absolutely need (e.g. phone, wallet).
If you feel ill, or have any symptoms of illness, we ask you to please act with an abundance of caution and join us for the online webstream.
Where should I park?
There are metered street parking areas (coins and cards) on Degnan Avenue as well as two other parking lots: One on 43rd Street and Creed Ave (3416 W 43rd Street), and another one on 43rd and Norton Ave (3358 W 43rd Street).
Are there things that I should keep in mind during the Vigil?
Maintain physical distance and wear a face mask, covering your nose and mouth, throughout the event.
As guests in this neighborhood, please be respectful of community members and their spaces. There will be Safety Monitors along our group wearing yellow or orange armbands. If you have any concerns, please notify them first. There aren’t any public restrooms in the Park; however, neighbor businesses have graciously opened theirs for our use. Specific details will be provided at the event.
What do I do right after the Vigil?
After the Vigil, please stay in the area to patronize Black owned restaurants, cafes, and other eateries around Leimert Park.
What are some concrete actions that I and my community can do after the Vigil?
- Be educated in matters about racial justice.
- Develop relationships with Black churches.
- Support Black-owned businesses.
- Donate to Racial Justice Initiative (https://eji.org/).
- Vote for political leaders who will effect change towards racial justice.
- See the Resource page for more.
Given the theological and political diversity of AAPI Christians, how are we coming together on this issue?
While we acknowledge and respect our real differences, this event sees us joining our voice together in solidarity with the Black community and their cries for racial justice. We do not ask attendees to agree on other issues, but are consciously choosing to emphasize this one shared cause.
We can think of this event as “getting on a bus” bound toward this cause. You may step off the bus later, after this event, to address other causes of importance to you.
Crucially, we acknowledge that we do not speak for all AAPI Christians, but simply for those who find value in speaking together as AAPI Christians in solidarity with Black Lives.
What do you mean by “political” in your Vision Statement and Goals?
Racial justice is a theological issue with political ramifications. We are committed to not only talking about loving our neighbors as individuals, but praying and working for systemic change in our laws, government, culture, and society. We believe that our discipleship is public and political, though not necessarily affiliated to any party’s partisan politics. As the Reverend MLK Jr. sought to save the soul of our nation, not only individual souls, our event is directed to praying for God’s power and work toward transforming our nation.
Who is the lead organizer of this event?
There is no single lead organizer for this event. That plural leadership is intentional to make sure that co-sponsors do not end up as pawns toward anyone’s individual agenda. Our goal is not to raise the profile, visibility, or agenda of any one AAPI church or organization, but to unite as diverse AAPI Christians towards the cause of our Black brothers and sisters.