Tuesday, May 4, 2021 7:00 - 8:00 PM, EST More Information: https://www.maywegather.org
When our Chinese immigrant ancestors came to the United States in the 1850s, we faced exclusion and violence, our Buddhist and Taoist temples desecrated and set ablaze. When our Japanese American forebears were herded into U.S. concentration camps in the 1940s, our priests were classified as a threat to national security, our Buddhist faith deemed un-American. When our South and Southeast Asian parents and grandparents arrived on these shores in the 1970s, many fleeing wars inflamed by the American military, we were told our cultures and Buddhist traditions didn’t belong.
Asian Americans are now experiencing another wave of religious bigotry and racial animus. We have witnessed a stark increase in violent attacks over the past year. The March 16th Atlanta shootings claimed the lives of eight people, six of them women of Asian descent, including the 63-year-old Buddhist Yong Ae Yue. She is remembered by her two sons as a selfless person who stood up against discrimination and always advocated for treating people right.
Yong Ae Yue’s tragic death follows upon months of unrelenting racist taunts and violence against Asian Americans, including the senseless assault of 84-year-old Vicha Ratanapakdee in San Francisco. His daughter, who herself had been accosted twice in the past year and told to go back to Asia because “Asians caused the coronavirus,” described her father as a devout Thai Buddhist; his funeral was held at Wat Buddhanusorn in Fremont, California.
Our temples have also come under attack. Six Vietnamese American temples in Orange County, California were vandalized in a single month; an outdoor Buddhist statue was spray-painted with the word “Jesus” at Huong Tich Temple. More recently, the Higashi Honganji Buddhist Temple in Los Angeles was damaged when windows were smashed, lanterns broken, and the property set on fire.
We welcome Asian American Buddhist temples and organizations, ally sanghas, and individuals of all backgrounds to participate in this ceremony by watching the livestream of the national Buddhist memorial on May 4th, and by endorsing this gathering.
As the sutras remind us, spiritual friendship is the whole of the Buddhist path. We look forward to joining together with you, in memory of our Asian American ancestors, to cultivate belonging and liberation for all beings.
In spiritual friendship,
Duncan Ryuken Williams, Funie Hsu, Chenxing Han