Anti-Asian hate crimes are on the rise in the United States. The most recent March 16 shootings in Atlanta, Ga., left eight people dead, many of them Asian women. As Asian Americans process a gunman opening fire on three Asian-owned spas, many will turn to leaders in their communities.
TIME spoke with Asian American religious leaders to reflect on Tuesday’s shootings. Pastors Peter Lim and Andrew Song of 4 Pointes Church of Atlanta and Minister Hee Sung Shin of Atlanta Chinese Christian Church North discussed how they are processing the tragedy, and how they plan on leading their communities forward to heal.
“My role as a pastor is to not only create a space for people to mourn and lament, but my role as a pastor is also to advocate,” Pastor Lim said.
They explained that while they are still processing their own feelings, staying silent is not an option for the Asian American community.
“What has happened in this past week has become the proverbial straw,” Pastor Song said. “We can’t just let it go from now on.”
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