The Interfaith Council of Elk Grove last week responded to the racist vandalism that occurred on Dec. 17 at a Japanese restaurant in the Sheldon area.

An anti-Asian slur was written in large letters at the main entrance of the Umai Bar & Grill on Grant Line Road.

Footage captured on the business’s security camera led to the arrest of a 43-year-old suspect from Elk Grove.

In a letter to the Elk Grove community and its vicinity, Mark Jansson, president of the Interfaith Council of Elk Grove, shared the council’s unified stand against this racist vandalism.

“We, as members of the board of the Interfaith Council of Elk Grove, unilaterally stand against the incident of vandalism and hate which occurred on Dec. 17 at (this restaurant),” he wrote.

“Our goal and pledge is ‘working together, building a just and caring society” – to overcome all forms of racism and religious bigotry through service, education and finding common ground.”

Council to host virtual prayer devotional

As part of Jansson’s letter, he invited the public to join his council in their 30-minute prayer devotional, which will be presented through the Zoom application online on Friday, Jan. 8 at 12:30 p.m.

“The theme is fitting: Unity,” Jansson noted in the conclusion of his letter.

The upcoming virtual prayer event is the second such monthly prayer devotional that the council has presented. The first prayer devotional, which had the themes of peace and prosperity, was held on Dec. 11.

Jansson explained the purpose of these prayer devotionals.

“The idea in mind (is) anytime you can get people together to talk about inspirational things in prayer, you can build a semblance of brotherhood among people,” he said.

“In spite of what appears to be differences, we really are all alike. We care about ourselves, we care about our families, we care about the people that we love and are fond of, we care about our children, we care about our community.”

In preparing for their prayer devotionals, the council works to gather people from as many differing religious backgrounds as they can to join them in spiritual thought and prayer.

Jansson said that the council hopes that these prayer devotionals will serve as an inspiration for people to think through any feelings of fear, doubt and anger that they may be experiencing.

He added the council is hoping to have many people of the community join the upcoming prayer event on Zoom.

“We look forward to extending the opportunity to the community (to join this event on Jan. 8), where folks can listen in and get a sense of feeling for the concerns and prayers of all of the faith groups in Elk Grove,” Jansson said.

For information on the Interfaith Council of Elk Grove and their Jan. 8 online event, visit their Facebook page at