Thousands of members from an Asian American church in Chicago’s Chinatown and a historically Black church in Bronzeville marched together over the weekend to support Black Lives Matter.
What happened: On June 28, around 1,000 members from the Chinese Christian Union Church (CCUC) in Chinatown and Bronzeville’s Progressive Baptist Church marched in Chinatown and the Bridgeport neighborhoods as a call for unity between two communities, according to ABC7 Chicago.
- The event was organized by the Asian American Christian Collaborative (AACC).
- The crowds initially gathered at Ping Tom Memorial Park before marching south and listening to speeches and held prayers at different stops, including a parking lot in Wells and Cullerton streets, where a February robbery involved a Black man allegedly killing two Chinese men; and at a public square located next to the Chinese Christian Union Church, Chicago Sun Times reported.
- They ended the march outside the Progressive Baptist Church.
- The movement was organized as a way to denounce the killing of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery and other victims of social injustice.
- “Because we affirm the God-given dignity of all human beings, we denounce the killing of innocent Black people as an affront to God himself whose divine image they bear,” the AACC said in its announcement. “Therefore, in light of these murders and the ongoing systemic injustices facing many African American communities, we – as Asian American Christians and leaders – stand with our African American neighbors because Black lives matter to God.”
- “For too long, the Asian American Christian church has been silent on tons of matters, especially when it comes to race,” one of the organizers of the event, CCUC deacon Chris Javier, said. “This is the end of silence. This is us pledging to stop that, to start using our voice on behalf of those that are hurting, even if they don’t look like us.”
What makes this historic: Even though the two churches have been around for more than a century — CCUC was established in 1915 while the Progressive Baptist Church was founded in 1919 — the two rarely interacted.
- “The march between these century old churches is a way for Asian American Christians (and our friends) to say that because of our Christian convictions, we are committed to building bridges between the Asian American and African American communities in order to bring forth racial healing and stand together against racial injustice,” the AACC said.
- “We have to speak out when we see injustice, especially as Asian Americans have faced discrimination because of COVID,” executive director of the Pui Tak Center, David Wu, said.
- “It’s a good start to build relationships, trying to understand each other’s needs,” Wu said about the two churches marching together.
- “Our deep hope is that … the healing will drive from the church to the rest of the communities, and that we’ll start to build bridges from the work that we’re doing,” said AACC President Raymond Chang, who chose CCUC and Progressive Baptist Church to form “a significant and symbolic partnership.”
Feature Image via Asian American Christian Collaborative – AACC