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AAPA Statement on Orlando Shooting

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AAPA Statement on Orlando Shooting

June 14, 2016

AAPA offers our condolences and ongoing support in response to the horrific act of violence in Orlando, Florida this past Sunday, June 12, 2016, in the midst of Pride celebrations among the LGBTQ community. The shootings of innocent people celebrating Latin night at Pulse Nightclub is a tragedy impacting family, friends, colleagues, neighbors, and the wider community who have lost their loved ones in a senseless act of violence.

We join in mourning with the many intersected communities impacted by the Orlando shootings, especially our LGBTQ AAPA members and the Division on Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer, and Questioning (LGBTQQ) within AAPA. As a community-at-large, we can stand up and take actions in the face of overwhelming tragedy. We will donate what we can, be it blood to be banked or money for victims’ families and organizations that promote peace and support LGBTQ communities.

Importantly, we provide our unwavering support to stay united and protect the human rights of all. We reject hatred in all of its forms and reaffirm our commitment to opposing anti-LGBTQ and anti-Muslim bigotry. Let us stand together and not allow a single individual’s hateful actions to turn us against our Muslim brothers and sisters. We will continue to celebrate Pride Month, Ramadan, and Immigrant Heritage Month.  We urge each of us to continue to do our part by reaching out to one another, inviting dialogue, reducing stigma, and promoting access to mental health care during these difficult times. We especially urge you to continue your advocacy work and education about issues of violence, discrimination, hatred, oppression, mental illness, extremism, and the impact on all affected communities.

 

Selected Resources for Support and Information:

American Psychological Association – Managing your distress in the wake of mass shooting:

http://www.apa.org/helpcenter/mass-shooting.aspx

American Psychological Association- How to talk to children about difficult news and tragedies:

http://www.apa.org/helpcenter/talking-to-children.aspx

SAMHSA – Incidents on Mass Violence:

http://www.samhsa.gov/find-help/disaster-distress-helpline/disaster-types/mass-violence

Parents and Friends of Lesbians and Gays:

https://www.pflag.org/

 

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Contact: Kevin Nadal, Ph.D.

AAPA President, kevin.nadal@aapaonline.org

Download Statement: [AAPA Statement on Orlando Shooting 2016-06-14.pdf]

AAPA Statement on Xenophobia Targeting Scientists

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The Asian American Psychological Association (AAPA) condemns the recent arrest and school suspension of a Texas 14-year old student, Ahmed Mohamed, for bringing a self-initiated engineering project to school that the school authorities and the local police believed to be a bomb. We are heartened by the chorus of support for Ahmed, and we hope that his ingenuity and interest in the sciences will continue to be encouraged and nurtured despite this incident of egregious injustice.

We believe Ahmed’s case represents a wider climate of fear pervading our nation that disproportionately targets scientists of color and scientists of immigrant origin as possible suspects in espionage and terror. Just recently, Professor Xiaoxing Xi, a former chair of Temple University’s physics department, was arrested and accused of sharing sensitive data with Chinese scientists. In 2014, Sherry Chen, a Chinese American hydrologist at the U.S. National Weather Service, was accused passing on information about American dams to China and lying about meeting with a high-ranking Chinese official. In both cases, Prof. Xi and Ms. Chen – who are both American citizens – were arrested and led away in handcuffs and suffered devastating effects of unjust incarceration. Both scientists were cleared of espionage-related charges and all other charges, yet both incidents clearly jeopardized the work and family lives of the scientists. Despite being cleared of charges, Ms. Chen was dismissed from her government job and Dr. Chen was relieved of his chairmanship at the department. These cases are reminiscent of the wrongful persecution of Dr. Wen Ho Lee, another Chinese American scientist accused of espionage in 1999.

As a national psychology organization committed to promoting the well-being of Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders, we express our concern that scientists and budding scientists of immigrant origin are being targeted unfairly because of their race, ethnicity, and/or religion. There is ample evidence from psychological research that Asian Americans and others of immigrant origins are seen as “foreign” regardless of their citizenship status. These “forever foreigner” stereotypes, when applied to scientists, can have devastating effects not only on the scientists themselves but also on AAPI communities and scientific communities more broadly. Asian American and Pacific Islander Americans are diasporic communities with kinship and cultural ties to Asia and beyond. Scientific progress rests on collaborations within and across borders. And students who dream of future careers in STEM fields must be encouraged rather than criminalized. We call on the U.S. Department of Justice to investigate the possible ethnic bias in the arrests of multiple scientists of immigrant origins. We call for schools to engage in open dialogue with families and community about their experience with the schools and a transparent and critical review of disciplinary actions against students of color. Finally, we stand with our communities of color to promote greater awareness of the damages that xenophobia and racial stereotypes can inflict on our society.

[AAPA Statement on Xenophobia Targeting Scientists]

Opportunities to discuss the APA Independent Review Report and related issues of Ethics for Psychologists

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Dear AAPA members,

We (the AAPA EC) want to inform you about opportunities to participate in in ongoing dialogues about ethical issues in psychology and the independent review of APA, opportunities both with AAPA and through other venues.  For AAPA, we invite you to attend the Town Hall meeting with representatives of the AAPA EC at the AAPA convention (7:30  to 8:30 am in Northrop Frye Hall).  Other venues for dialogue and commentary to APA and beyond include:

  • the APA/CoR will hold a Town Hall Meeting on the independent Review Report at the APA convention on Saturday, August 8, 3 to 4:30 pm in Convention Centre/Constitution Hall 106 North Building-Level 100
  • APA has an open comments area on their website: http://apa.org/independent-review/index.aspx
  • AAPA Vice President Helen Hsu will be co-presenting a session at the APA convention titled Ethnic Minority Psychological Associations Critique APA Ethics Code-Integrating Culture and Ethics on Saturday, August 8, 2pm-3:50pm. This is a further opportunity for feedback and better understanding the relations of AAPA and the APA ethics office in recent years.
  • Psychologists for Social Responsibility and co-sponsors will be conducting a Town Hall Meeting for discussing the recently-released Hoffman Report 4pm to 8pm Thursday August 6, 2015 at St. Andrew’s Presbyterian Church, 73 Simcoe St, 8 minutes walk from where the APA annual convention is being held

Asian American Psychological Association Response to the American Psychological Association’s Report of the Independent Review Relating to Ethics Guidelines, National Security Interrogations, and Torture

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July 31, 2015

The Executive Committee of the Asian American Psychological Association (AAPA), on behalf of the AAPA, wishes to express our sadness and dismay upon reviewing the American Psychological Association (APA)’s Report of the Independent Review Relating to Ethics Guidelines, National Security Interrogations, and Torture.

This is not the first time in the history of our nation or of our profession that foundational understandings and guidelines for legal, ethical, or moral behavior have been ignored or overturned. The current situation raises echoes for us of a dark chapter in American history during World War II when – under the guise of a national security threat – over 110,000 Japanese Americans, two-thirds of whom were U.S. citizens, were imprisoned in concentration camps and denied their rights, essentially setting aside the United States Constitution. We are heartened that, unlike the experience of Japanese Americans, it did not take four decades to investigate the events and begin the process of prioritizing ethical and just processes and practices.

Although AAPA is a separate organization from APA, we recognize that the actions of APA, as the largest professional organization of psychologists, reflect on the public’s perception of psychology and psychologists more generally. Consequently AAPA, as an independent organization of psychologists, would like to voice our stance on ethical issues even as we recognize that it is up to APA and its governance to address the specific findings and shortcomings.

The AAPA condemns torture or abuse of any person, for any reason, including interrogation. As psychologists our goal is to heal, not to harm. Furthermore, we believe that ethical guidelines for psychologists should make clear the unacceptability of such practices and should be shaped by an ongoing dialogue within the profession about the meaning of “torture” and “abuse.”

As an association founded to address inequities within the field of psychology, we are disturbed by findings described in the report that suggest that the APA’s governing processes, policies, ethical guidelines, reports, and public statements were used to support or justify the development or application of oppressive or harmful practices. We are also disturbed by findings that the development of these processes and policies was influenced strongly by external bodies (e.g., the Department of Defense) and political agendas. The report further indicates that much of this influence was clandestine. Furthermore, we are deeply concerned by descriptions in the report that suggested that APA generally, and the Ethics Office specifically, prioritized advancing the economic and standing interests of the discipline and member psychologists, rather than the well being of the people and communities whom psychologists serve.

As a psychological association dedicated to addressing inequities and promoting health for all people, but particularly those historically marginalized, we assert that psychologists and psychological associations have the responsibility to prioritize beneficence to others above personal or professional advancement. Furthermore, we assert that ethical guidelines for psychologists generally, and in any specific association, should be guided by the standards of the field as developed by those with expertise in the field, through public and transparent dialogues and processes.

The findings of the Independent Review indicate that the APA moved alarmingly away from its mission to “advance the creation, communication, and application of psychological knowledge to benefit society and improve people’s lives” and its vision to be “an effective champion of the application of psychology to promote human rights, health, well being and dignity.”

We call on APA to acknowledge past errors, and engage in revising guidelines, policies, processes, and organizational culture to more fully and deliberately embrace the values and priorities above. We urge APA to develop a process that is open and transparent in order to create purposeful and sustainable change to psychology’s engagement with ethics in general and in specific relation to military involvement and torture. Furthermore, we urge the APA to shape a process that includes the multiple perspectives and diverse professional expertise of all psychologists. All psychologists, regardless of APA membership, have a stake in a common goal of individual and societal health.

Finally, we call on AAPA members and all psychologists to actively participate in rebuilding public trust in us and in our profession. There should be no doubt that our research and practice of psychology advance and promote individual, social, and systemic understanding, psychological health, well being, and justice.

Download pdf of Statement here.

Message to AAPA Members about the Hoffman Report

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Dear AAPA Members and Friends:

As you most likely know, the report commissioned by APA’s Board of Directors to examine the association’s conduct in regard to the Psychological Ethics and National Security (PENS) Task Force and the association’s relations with the Department of Defense and the CIA in relation to torture and interrogation techniques has been made public. The report document (also referred to as the Hoffman Report) and related materials are available at http://www.apa.org/independent-review.

Although AAPA is an organization independent of APA, we recognize that many of our members are also APA members and that actions of the APA (as the largest organization for our profession) have considerable impact on the public’s view of psychology.

We know that many of you have strong feelings about the past and present practices and policies of APA issues, as well as fears about the impacts on our profession of these practices and the findings of the investigation. This is a difficult moment for the APA and for the profession of psychology, and it will take considerable time for each of us, as psychologists, to understand and digest the implications for the profession, for our own professional activities, and for our own organizations. During this process and time, the Executive Committee of AAPA seeks to ensure that our members are well informed about these issues and the APA response that is still unfolding.

To that end, we offer the following current information and recommendations:

  • We encourage you to directly review the Hoffman report (the Executive Summary is 72 pages, at the beginning of the report) and the APA response. There are many perspectives on these issues, and popular media articles have their own slants on reporting.
  • We also encourage you to review the initial recommendations from the APA Board: http://www.apa.org/news/press/releases/2015/07/independent-review-release.aspx
  • APA is working to develop active processes through which members, psychologists, and the public can comment and/or participate in discussions and recommendations. To that end:
    • APA has set up a public comment mechanism (at the bottom of the independent report page): http://www.apa.org/independent-review/index.aspx
    • APA/CoR will hold a Town Hall Meeting related to these issues at the APA Convention on Saturday, August 8 from 3-4:30pm.
    • APA CoR is working on on-line venues for people who cannot attend convention to discuss the report.

Given the complexity of these issues, there will be extensive discussions on the APA Council of Representatives and throughout APA as an organization, with careful consideration of how best to proceed to ensure that the resulting process, policy, and procedures are ethical and reflect the best values of the process. Therefore, as further events unfold, we will do our best to keep you well informed.

On behalf of the AAPA Executive Committee,

Sumie Okazaki
AAPA President

Karen L. Suyemoto
AAPA Observer to the APA Council of Representatives