The Asian American Psychological Association firmly opposes the United States Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) announcement threatening deportation of international students who do not participate in in-person programming. Albeit rescinded, the psychological impact lingers as news pertaining to international students and DACA amendments continue to change. These regulations place students in physical and psychological harm and present universities with complicated and difficult choices: 1) lose their international students, placing the educational, emotional, and physical safety of international students at risk, or 2) begin in-person programming–often against professional safety advisements. Nationwide, faculty, staff, and student safety and well-being should not have been put at risk for xenophobic policies of no discernible benefits and that targeted students based solely on national origin. We continue to oppose and push back on the perpetuation of constant violence and fear that continues to be felt throughout the Asian American community from Covid-19 related racism to xenophobic policies such as this one.
To our international, DACA, and undocumented student members and community, we stand in solidarity with you. We acknowledge the numerous challenges that you have gone through and will continue to endure during these uncertain times. We value you and will fight to ensure your educational equity and safety. We support your efforts for self-advocacy, self- and community-care during this difficult time. We will move forward to work on building awareness around citizenship and cultural privilege within the Asian American community. We also encourage members to share resources with the listserv.
In an effort to continue providing support and building awareness, AAPA’s Education and Training Committee in collaboration with our divisions will host a Virtual Healing Circle specifically for AAPA international students followed by an informational webinar for both international students and allies. Details will be forthcoming on the listserv.
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.”