National Council of Asian Pacific Americans Applauds Adoption of Amendment to Address Military Hazing

 

 

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

APRIL 28, 2016

 Contact: Mary Tablante;

 (202) 706-6768;

 

mary@ncapaonline.org

   

National Council of Asian Pacific Americans Applauds Adoption of Amendment to Address Military Hazing

The National Council of Asian Pacific Americans (NCAPA) strongly supports the House Armed Services Committee’s adoption of an amendment offered by Rep. Jackie Speier to the National Defense Authorization Act that would address inconsistencies in the Department of Defense (DOD) anti-hazing policies.

The Speier Amendment is based on Rep. Judy Chu’s Harry Lew Military Hazing Accountability and Prevention Act of 2016 and is in response to a February 2016 report by the Government Accountability Office. This report found that DOD’s anti-hazing policies lack oversight; require additional, regular monitoring of policy implementation; and must improve data collection and tracking of reported incidents.

Asian Americans experience bullying and harassment in the military. For example, in April 2011, Lance Corporal Harry Lew, the nephew of Representative Judy Chu, shot himself to death in a foxhole in Afghanistan after brutal hazing by fellow Marines. In October 2011, Private Danny Chen, took his own life after weeks of racially-charged abuse and mistreatment by fellow Army platoon members.

“Bullying and hazing have no place in the military. They have already claimed the lives of Asian Americans Private Danny Chen and Lance Corporal Harry Lew and it is important that we ensure that no other lives are needlessly lost,” said Ken Lee, OCA chief executive officer. “As our military continues to allow all people to fully serve, including Sikh Americans, lesbian, gay, and bisexuals (LGB), and women, stronger regulation is mandatory to ensure that all folks can serve without fear of retaliation or bullying for who they are. This amendment is an important step towards ensuring that the positive changes made so far by the Department of Defense are consistently implemented. We applaud Congresswoman Speier for introducing this much-needed amendment and helping protect the wellbeing of our servicemembers."

“This amendment is an important step to ending a very dangerous practice.  No matter how it is rationalized, hazing is done to inflict pain, whether physical and/or emotional and should not be tolerated in any segment of society,” said DJ Ida, PhD,  National Asian American Pacific Islander Mental Health Association executive director. “The vote last night will hopefully mean that the deaths of Lance Corporal Henry Lew and Private Danny Chen were not in vain.  Sadly, the price they already paid was far too high.  NAAPIMHA would like to thank Congresswomen Judy Chu and Jackie Speier and the members of Congress who saw the wisdom in ending hazing and hope they will continue to work towards the goal of protecting the physical, emotional and mental well being of those who serve in our military.”

“The Department of Defense anti-hazing policies are not as effective as they should be because they do not have appropriate oversight and monitoring,” said Christopher Kang, NCAPA national director. “Representatives Speier and Chu have offered important legislation that will help close this gap, ensuring that DOD is accountable and that all men and women who volunteer to serve and protect our nation can do so without fear of hazing or bullying.”

NCAPA thanks Representative Jackie Speier for offering this amendment and Representative Judy Chu for her continued leadership and commitment to end military hazing. We urge the House of Representatives to ensure that this important provision remains included when it considers the National Defense Authorization Act.

Read NCAPA’s full letter of support here. OCA’s letter of support is available here, and the following NCAPA members signed on: Asian Americans Advancing Justice | AAJC, Asian Pacific American Labor Alliance, Asian American Psychological Association, Japanese American Citizens League, National Asian Pacific American Bar Association, National Korean American Service and Education Consortium, National Queer Asian Pacific Islander Alliance and The Center for APA Women.

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Based in Washington, D.C., the National Council of Asian Pacific Americans is a coalition of 35 national Asian Pacific American organizations that serves to represent the interests of Asian American, Native Hawaiian, and Pacific Islander (AANHPI) communities and to provide a national voice for our communities’ concerns. Our communities are the fastest growing racial/ethnic group in the United States, currently making up approximately six percent of the population.

 




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