“All of us–regardless of our race, ethnicity, national origin, or citizenship–are striving to cope with anxiety and fear brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic and the social isolation precautions needed to reduce its spread. As an organization whose mission is to advance the mental health and well-being of Asian American communities, we draw attention to the additional stressors faced by our communities who are contending with increased stigma, racism, and xenophobia.”
August 5, 2019
As our nation repeatedly finds itself grieving the violent murders of innocent people, AAPA members join our fellow Americans in mourning. As a community of immigrants, refugees, and people of color, we also feel the violent and rising impact of hate and intolerance targeting us and our community. In 2018, the Southern Poverty Legal Center documented 1,020 organized hate groups in the United States and reported that incidents of hate crimes is on the rise nationwide.
As mental health professionals, we know the data demonstrates that these mass killings are not due to mental illness.
We are thankful to APA President Dr. Rosie Phillips Davis for her statement emphasizing the unfounded and stigmatizing impact of blaming mass shooting on those with mental illness.
We also know the data and research does not support video games as causation for mass violence.
Today marked the 7th anniversary of the cowardly hate attack upon the Oak Creek Sikh Gurdwara, which the community has chosen to commemorate in a spirit of chardi kala, relentless optimism in the face of hardship. Despite the dangers and painful losses of recent mass shootings and hate crimes againts innocente, we must join in the Sikh example to continue efforts to strengthen community despite hate.
We are in this together, and every voice and contribution adds to our strength as a united nation and as mental health professionals dedicated to the care and safety of all.
What can you do? It is easy to feel overwhelmed by the pace at which alarming and hateful events have been occurring.
Please take the time to seek support within your communities and take any small action which is feasible for your given situation. This is by no means an exhaustive list of organizations and resources, and we encourage you to share additional ideas and links with all AAPA members.
Contact your local elected officials. Ask them to vote in support of the Olsen and Beyer NO HATE Act, which aims at improving reporting of hate crimes and increasing assistance to victims.
Donate to reputable organizations that work to combat hate organizations and to support victims or address gun safety
Donate directly to communities impacted by gun violence
Write an op-ed article for your local media outlets
Share resources for coping with your communities:
We are also asking for AAPA members with multi-lingual abilities to let us know of their willingness to volunteer in assisting with translation or creation of coping resources or documents to disseminate to our community members in ethnic enclaves who may benefit from such information in their first languages.
Please respond to your AAPA Executive Committee if you would like to contribute your skills to this endeavor.
The mission of AAPA is to advance the mental health and well-being of Asian American communities. In response to community and world events, AAPA has found it necessary to ally with other communities, as it is impossible to function as an ethical body if we speak solely about issues of health and policy that directly impact Asian Americans or behavioral and mental health professionals. AAPA is committed to the promotion of health and equity for the benefit of all, particularly those most vulnerable. As an organization whose members are comprised of immigrants and descendants of immigrants, we are particularly pained by the events witnessed at the southern U.S. border, which reveals breaches in international standards for children’s rights (https://www.ohchr.org/en/professionalinterest/pages/crc.aspx).
Decades of psychological research on child and caregiver attachment unequivocally demonstrate the crucial role of attachment in child health and well-being. In particular, disrupted caregiver attachment for children under age 5 contributes to lifelong negative developmental consequences. The psychological impact of family separation policies as well as inhumane detention conditions is causing needless and irreparable harm to migrant children. Prolonged exposure to the stressors of such conditions can cause both short and long term health consequences (https://www.srcd.org/policy-media/statements-evidence/separating-families).
AAPA is a non-partisan organization that promotes mental health; this includes the welfare of children. We advocate for a world that supports health and ethical practices. This mission is even more urgent when those enduring harm are children who are unable to care for themselves—children who are separated from their adult caregivers and without the supervision of qualified pediatric and psychological experts. We stand firmly with other professional organizations (such as the American Psychological Association, American Academy of Pediatrics and the National Association of Social Workers) against family separation as a matter of policy within the asylum process. In addition to the negative impact upon individual children and families, current policies threaten overall public health as explained by the American Public Health Association.
As a member organization of the National Council on Asian Pacific Americans, AAPA recommends the rejection of an enforcement-only approach to immigration. Such an approach only results in anti-immigrant initiatives, scapegoating of refugees, harmful family separations, and increased vulnerability of survivors of domestic violence, human trafficking and other crimes.
What can we do to help?
Write an op-ed in your local paper, or send an email to your member of Congress about your concerns.
You can call your representatives as well- 202-224-3121 and the switchboard will connect you to your local representatives.
Ask to end the zero tolerance inhumane policies punishing families for seeking asylum.
Call upon the Federal Government to ratify the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child.
Demand the appropriate use and maintenance of data to facilitate reunification of separated children and caretakers.
Share behavioral health facts and concerns within your personal and professional circles.
Volunteers are not allowed in detainment centers, but you can find out about your local refugee resettlement agencies and what they need here:
Support Civil Rights
ACLU’s national site: https://www.aclu.org/action
We call upon AAPA members to share their regional resources and allied programs as well.
We are horrified and grief-stricken by the multiple tragedies that have taken place in the last two weeks. AAPA leadership was still processing and working on our words of solidarity in response to the Sri Lanka murders (Sunday, April 21, 2019) when the shooting at the Chabad of Poway Synagogue (Saturday, April 27, 2019) occurred in San Diego, CA.
As an organization we unequivocally condemn such acts of hate and violence and commit to supporting victims, families, and communities during these difficult times. For many individuals and communities religion and spirituality are fundamental components of psychological and community health. As such, we are especially concerned about the persistent onslaught of violence impacting ethnic, racial, and religious communities both within the U.S. and abroad. We urge our membership to remain vigilant in considering the impact of losing a sense of safety in one’s spiritual home. Whether in Christchurch or Louisiana, Oak Creek or Pittsburgh- these cowardly attacks are an affront to us all.
As an organization committed to advancing the mental health and well-being of Asian Americans, we are cognizant of the media’s highlighting of mental illness as a precipitant to some of the tragedies. We are intent on differentiating mental health from acts of hate and violence. Facts indicate that the vast majority of those living with mental health conditions do not commit acts of violence.
In the wake of recent tragedies, we advise that each of us remain mindful not to give in to divisiveness by stereotyping entire communities for the hateful actions of a few. We also advise you to acknowledge history and systems of oppression that implicitly or explicitly perpetuate such hate and violence. We need to stand together, united in combating hatred and denouncing acts of violence.
If you or your family are impacted by these events, we encourage you to make yourself a priority and make space for your personal self-care and that of your community. We also encourage you to consider reaching out to your family, friends, religious and spiritual institutions, mental health professionals, and local community and support groups.
For allies and supporters, we encourage you to reach out to folks within your network to allow space for sharing, venting, grieving, fear, and any other emotions that might arise. Make your allyship local and visible. Note that it is important to provide validation for those communities most impacted. At this critical time, we encourage continuing to build a sense of strength through love and community– all of which have been shown to support healing and mental health.
Asian American Psychological Association
Managing your Distress in the Wake of Mass Shooting
Building Resilience to Manage Indirect Exposure to Terror
How to talk to Children about difficult news
HATE CRIME RESOURCES
American Psychological Association on the Psychology of Hate Crimes
Southern Poverty legal Center – Resources for Fighting Hate Groups and Teaching Tolerance
Southern Poverty legal Center -10 ways to fight hate – Community response
SRI LANKA RESOURCES
Sri Lanka Red Cross
Kind Hearted Lankans
If you need assistance with locating a missing relative, please contact your local Red Cross office here and ask to speak to a case worker.
CHABAD POWAY DONATION SITE
Friday, August 24, 2018
Dear APA and OEMA,
We, the Executive Committee of the Asian American Psychological Association (AAPA), are writing in response to the recently released first web video titled “Racism in American” in a series on Race and Health (http://www.apa.org/education/
undergrad/diversity/default. aspx). It has come to our attention that there is a glaring omission of Asian American and Pacific Islander experiences of racism in the video. We are thankful that Dr. Jude Bergkamp, an AAPA member, was included in the video. However, AAPI experiences of racism were not explicitly discussed in this video, leaving us with images but remaining “voiceless.”
It is our understanding that APA requested feedback from AAPA members and had previously received critiques of the missing AAPI experiences and experts. Recommendations were made, yet unheeded, to include additional images and voices that reflected AAPI experiences of racism, including the targeting of Sikhs, deportation of Asian Americans, killing of Vincent Chin, exploitation of labor, and examples of hate crimes. We are especially disappointed to hear that APA received this feedback prior to the video’s release. However, it appears as though the feedback was not implemented.
We believe that the omission of Asian American experiences from this first video is fixable and request that APA and OEMA follow through with remedying this situation. Tiffany Townsend has been tireless and gracious in describing the process that led to the introductory video, we understand the information that has been provided about the process that led to the invisibility of our members and their experience, we respectfully request that APA acknowledge its omission and correct this error. We understand that Asian American psychologists and experiences will be included in subsequent videos. However, the omission of these experiences from this first video perpetuates the invisibility of AAPIs as a racialized group that experiences racism and the misnomer that AAPIs are “honorary whites” and perpetuates the “model minority” myth instead of recognizing us as a compilation of ethnic communities of color.
AAPA recognizes and applauds the value of this video effort. We do intend to share this resource with our membership but would be remiss in doing so without addressing the hurtful invisibility of AAPI experiences. As a group we have already endured decades of being “othered” or nonexistent in psychology research and efforts. Our community’s representation is especially important, particularly as South Asian, refugee, and undocumented AAPI’s are particularly targeted in the current political climate.
We remain committed to ongoing dialogue and constructive shared efforts.
Asian American Psychological Association