In 2020, the Black Lives Matter movement brought to light the injustices Black people face regularly and now we are seeing an increase in violence against Asian Americans during the pandemic. Most of us have witnessed some form of racism or xenophobia in our lifetime and are probably wondering what we can do.
I am giving you a new commandment, that you love one another; just as I have loved you, that you also love one another. By this all people will know that you are My disciples: if you have love for one another. -John 13:34-35
Look within. That’s right, the Bible teaches us to repent for our sins. We should all look at ourselves and ask if we have contributed to the racism or xenophobia that surrounds us. Have we laughed at racist jokes? Stated a stereotype of a group or even said something racist or xenophobic. If so, we know we are the problem. Take time to ask why you have these thoughts or ideas and recognize that it comes from a place of hate. You cannot be a Christian and have hate in your heart. If you are truly transformed, you will realize that the closer you are to God the further away you are from the bigotry and hate.
Create a plan. If you have been a part of the problem begin undoing the damage you’ve caused. Create a plan to get educated about those you’ve been racist towards. Do not expect them to teach you; you are responsible for your own knowledge and transformation. Read books, ask questions from experts will to teach you, and be comfortable with being uncomfortable as you work towards being enlightened.
Listen. Most of the time, we just want to be heard. This is the same for someone that may have just gone through a racist or xenophobic attack. Like with any traumatic experience, we all want to be heard and be reminded that we are not alone. Listen to the victim’s experience and let them know that you are here with them now and have heard them.
Be a witness. If you see something stop and be a witness. Depending on your comfort level, this may mean speaking up as you see someone being victimized or it may mean reporting what you saw to the appropriate authorities. Remember that the twelve disciples were Jesus’ witnesses.
Get involved. This can look different for each person. It may mean standing up for a victim of racism or xenophobia as you are witnessing it or becoming an activist and joining a movement. Getting involved for some may be giving money to a group that is supporting those that have been victimized.
We all have a part in ending hate in our communities. If we are to truly live in God’s image we all have to work together to spread the message of love and care that he taught us. What are you doing to end racism or xenophobia in your community? Share in the comments below.