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Abstract: How have American Christians responded to the rise in racist and violent attacks on Asian Americans during the Covid-19 pandemic? Although the forms of condemnation and calls to action have varied widely, Christian responses to anti-Asian racism have had one thing in common: they have often been led by Asian Americans in American Christian communities, especially in evangelical communities. This talk explores the contemporary anti-racism work of Asian American evangelicals. Moreover, it shows how current anti-racism work is part of a broader history of Asian American evangelical activism around racism. In contrast to the stereotype of Asian Americans as quiet and apolitical, the examples highlighted in this talk tell a starkly different story: of Asian American Christians who, emboldened by their faith, have been vocal in their call for racial justice.
About: Melissa Borja is Assistant Professor of American Culture at the University of Michigan, where she is core faculty in Asian/Pacific Islander American Studies. A historian of migration, religion, race, and politics, she is the author of Follow the New Way: American Refugee Resettlement Policy and Hmong Religious Change (forthcoming, Harvard University Press). An avid public scholar, Dr. Borja advises the Religion and Forced Migration Initiative and the Bridging Divides Initiative, both at Princeton University. She also researches anti-Asian racism during the Covid-19 pandemic as the lead investigator of the Virulent Hate Project and has contributed research to Stop AAPI Hate. In 2020-2021, Dr. Borja was a Faculty Fellow at the Charles Warren Center for Studies in American History at Harvard University. She earned a Ph.D. in History from Columbia University, an M.A. from the University of Chicago, and an A.B. from Harvard University.