The Asian American Psychological Association mourns the loss of George Floyd, Ahmaud Arbery, and Breonna Taylor, innocent lives and countless unnamed others lost to violent murders. We, once again, stand strongly against systemic violence and affirm that Black Lives Matter. We wish to show our unwavering support and solidarity with our Black siblings both within and outside of our AAPA membership. As an organization and community of immigrants, refugees, and people of color, we unequivocally condemn such acts of hate and violence and commit to supporting our members, students, victims, families, and communities during these difficult times. We, once again, urge our membership to continue working on identifying and dismantling the anti-black racism that exists within Asian American communities and beyond. A system that does not value Black lives will never truly value Asian lives.
As psychologists and mental health professionals, we recognize the racial and physical violence and traumatic grief that is being forced on Black Americans. We reject the lie of White Supremacy and call upon our membership to lead their respective communities in unlearning the myths that divide us from our siblings. We cannot stand idly by and must recognize the historical implications of our silence visually re-depicted by the two Asian American bystander officers in the murder of George Floyd. The historical stressors of oppression and injustice on Black Americans have consistently been linked to reductions in psychological wellness (Gee et al., 2019). Indeed, almost all Black Americans report experiencing racism, with the majority reporting daily encounters (APA, 2016). These constant attacks deplete psychological and physiological resources while perpetrating hostile and threatening environments.
To help move forward, we strongly advocate for institutional change through individual and systemic evaluations to help pinpoint areas of bias, followed by appropriate programming across workplaces, schools, and government systems. We suggest more intensive training and vetting at all stages and levels of the police academy to reduce racial bias and improve de-escalation skills. And most importantly, we ask our leaders (local to national) to take a strong stance against anti-Black racism and violence.
To our Black members, students, and professionals, we encourage you to make yourself a priority and create 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 folx within your network to allow space for sharing, venting, grieving, fear, and any other emotions that might arise. We encourage you to hold yourself accountable in ways that you can to not be silent– stand up, speak out, and support our African American and Black siblings. Work to identify, deconstruct, and remove the Anti-Blackness lurking in your daily interactions, on your social media, and in your teaching, research, service, and advocacy work. Make your allyship local and visible. We also encourage you to engage in discussions with the children in your lives about racism especially as they’re watching some of the most recent events in the media.
We demand justice and accountability for George Floyd, Ahmaud Arbery, and Breonna Taylor. We also send our sincere condolences to their respective friends, family, and community as they mourn yet more losses of light and power in the Black community.
Past AAPA Statements
Hope, E. C., Hoggard, L. S., & Thomas, A. (2016). Becoming an adult in the face of racism. Monitor on Psychology, 47(6), 35-38.
Gee, G. C., Hing, A., Mohammed, S., Tabor, D. C., & Williams, D. R. (2019). Racism and the life course: taking time seriously. American journal of public health, 109(S1), S43-S47.
Live Document of Resources Against Anti-Blackness started by Dr. Jayakar V. Nayak bit.ly/combat-antiblackness
“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.”
Please follow the link to read the full Statement.
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.
Special thanks to Secretary-Historian, Gloria Wong-Padoongpatt, Dieu Truong, and Vicky Ho for compiling the Annual Report!