August E-News DOTAC: Racial Justice Journey
The Experience of Hyerim Park
As a new immigrant from Korea, two things surprised me about living in Canada. First, beautiful nature and second, racism. I experienced racism on the streets, in markets, in public institutions, in churches, and even in the Human Rights Museum as a volunteer. The discomfort, anger, depression, and embarrassment I felt while going through racist situations were treated as just my personal misunderstanding.
Then one day, I was invited by a mentor to participate in the workshop of the DOTAC Racial Justice group. Through the courageous message of Marlene Brittton and David Rojas Martínez, I was able to practice little by little my courage, realizing that someone had to speak out about racism deeply rooted in this society and that some people had to show solidarity and act together for the vision of justice pursued by Jesus.
In June-July, I was asked to join the planning team for these workshops. At first, I was worried questioning myself, “What can a young female student from the East Asian talk about in front of mostly white members of the diaconate? Can I make any small contribution? What if people don’t understand my pronunciation?” However, I tried to focus more on my inner voice through the encouragement and respect of Marlene, David and Colleen Hankins Bernu (who had also joined the team). I wanted to be honest and courageous to convey my own experiences, feelings, and stories I wanted to share. Understanding and respecting different races are necessary in this society and the church, but the process of creating a community without any discrimination requires a lot of time and solidarity, and we must always take risks.
I was grateful that I was able to take courage in front of the ministers who gathered to listen to our voices as they provided me space so that they could share my experience of Anti-Asian Racism. I am also thankful for the opportunity with the Racial Justice group members for my growth and learning.
I want to be a wise fighter. I don’t want to be silent anymore, I want to hear and deliver stories of Asian female immigrants like me, who are still struggling with sexual violence, gender discrimination and racial discrimination. I hope to find HOPE through solidarity for people in margin. That is what I believe that Jesus wants us to do for justice, love, and peace. I look forward to the prayer and support of the DOTAC group that cries out for God’s justice together.
Hyerim’s full presentation and other recordings from the June 17 session can be found at: https://dotac.diakonia-world.org/events/anti-racism-programming-2021/dotac-racial-justice-group/
A grant from the World Council of Churches “Pilgrimage of Justice and Peace” made these online learning possible.