Asian American Buddhists commemorate anti-Asian violence and killings with 'May We Gather 2024'

- through Henry Oudin

Published on

Illustration by Rob Sato

May We Gather – organized by American Buddhist figures Duncan Ryūken Williams, Funie Hsu and Chenxing Han – commemorates the racially motivated shootings of Yong Ae Yue in Atlanta and Vicha Ratanapakdee in San Francisco with a pilgrimage planned for March 16, 2024, and a online lecture series leading up to the pilgrimage funded by the Asian Pacific American Religions Research Initiative. The lecture series is titled “Resilience, Recovery, Repair” and will be co-hosted with Tricycle: the Buddhist magazine.

Both events aim to educate and heal the wounds inflicted by racially and religiously motivated anti-Asian violence in 2020 and 2021, as well as the recent wave of vandalization of Buddhist temples across the United States. The in-person pilgrimage will take place in Antioch, California. In its press release, May We Gather said:

In accordance with Buddhist ritual cycles of mourning and remembrance, we will mark the three-year anniversary of the Atlanta-area spa shootings in 2021, which took the lives of eight people, including six women of Asian descent. We will reclaim and celebrate Asian American Buddhist history in Antioch, California and across the United States, to strengthen the bonds of kinship that unite each of us across time, place, race, religion and sex. Our ceremony and pilgrimage will include Buddhist chanting, Dharma reflections from six female Buddhist leaders from across lineage and heritage, a community peace walk, and a Taoist memorial ritual, followed by an informal community reception.

(May we come together)

“Resilience, Recovery, Repair” began on January 24 and two more panels will take place on February 8 and 21. It highlights central topics for the upcoming commemorative pilgrimage in March, with scholars, spiritual teachers, educators, community leaders and elders joining discussions on "gender and XNUMXth-century immigrant experiences, popular religion and spiritual life, as well as contemporary restoration and restoration projects.” repair in California,” and more. (May we come together)

Co-organizers of the event are Duncan Ryuken Williams, Funie Hsu and Chenxing Han

Each session was titled with the goal of highlighting unique historical experiences that collectively remain resonant with the Asian American experience. On January 24, author of “Resilience: A History of Nineteenth-Century Chinese Immigrants in Antioch and Beyond” Jean Pfaelzer and historian Dwayne Eubanks joined Dr. Williams to discuss the experience of Chinese immigrants in the XNUMXth century century. Topics included "the formation and evolution of Antioch, the immigration of Chinese laborers and merchants, the positioning of Chinese women in the city and more broadly in California's Chinatowns, and the Chinese History Project contemporary of Antioch. (May we come together)

On February 8, Han will host “Recovery: The History of America's Early Buddho-Taoist Temples” and discuss the process of cultural and religious recovery through architecture and archives with Dr. Chuimei Ho, Dr. Bennett Bronson, and Dr. Jonathan HX Lee. . Finally, on the 21st, “Repair: A Path to Healing the Land and Ancestors” will see Dr. Hsu discuss broader issues of spiritual friendship and solidarity with Corrina Gould of Sogorea Te' Land Trust, Christine Cordero of the Network Asia-Pacific Environmental Commission and Devin. Berry and Noliwe Alexander of Deep Time Liberation. The resilience and recovery of Asian American Buddhists is seen as part of a larger unity of Indigenous, Asian, and Black-led efforts against the racial karma of settler colonialism, Western imperialism and slavery.

The press release further notes:

The May We Gather collective recognizes that marginalized communities, regardless of their traditions, have experienced physical oppression and violence related to the destruction of their sacred sites. We consider these experiences to be linked. The parallels we see with the burning of Antioch's Chinatown in 1876, the deadly shootings in Atlanta, and ongoing acts of aggression against communities seen as "others" remind us that racial, religious, and gender-based violence concerns everyone. Our 2024 programming – May We Come Together: A National Buddhist Pilgrimage for Asian American Ancestors and Resilience, Recovery, Reparation: An Online Lecture Series – is dedicated to healing from these historical and current harms and to recognition of the contributions of Asian American women.

(May we come together)

Image from May We Gather Together

May We Gather seeks to remind Americans and the world that the shootings must be placed in their proper context: "a broader tapestry of anti-Asian animus, religious bigotry and injustice against women" in the United States and , in different contexts, elsewhere in the world. Global North. “The suffering caused by racial, religious and gender-based violence affects us all. » (May we come together)

The pilgrimage will be livestreamed on March 16 at 13:00 p.m. PDT and can be tweeted with the hashtag #MayWeGather2024.

See more

2024: Press kit on the 3-year pilgrimage (May we gather)

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Henry Oudin

Henry Oudin is a Buddhist scholar, spiritual adventurer and journalist. He is a passionate seeker of the depths of Buddhist wisdom, and travels regularly to learn more about Buddhism and spiritual cultures. By sharing his knowledge and life experiences on Buddhist News, Henry hopes to inspire others to embrace more spiritual and mindful ways of living.

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