The National APIDA Panhellenic Association condemns racist actions against the African American community
Fraternal organizations were created to challenge the status quo and advocate for change. While much has changed since the beginning of fraternal movement, unfortunately, racism in America remains consistent. It is imperative that fraternal organizations, including the National Asian Pacific Islander Desi American Panhellenic Association (NAPA), stand in solidarity and mobilize to speak out against Anti-Black racism. On Monday, May 25, 2020, there were two very public examples of racist incidents against the Black community.
In New York City, Amy Cooper called the police in an attempt to villainize Christian Cooper (no relation to Amy Cooper), an African American man, who simply asked her to follow the rules of Central Park. She threatened him after he began recording the interaction, stating, “I’m going to tell [the police] there’s an African American man threatening my life,” and repeating “African American” several times after dialing the police. Thankfully, Christian Cooper is still here today to share his story, but this example speaks to a larger narrative in which Amy Cooper believed that by calling the police, she would rid herself of accountability for her actions. It demonstrates Amy Cooper was conscious of her sense of entitlement, and even if she did not intend to physically hurt him, she knew she had the power to do so.
In Minneapolis, four police officers were involved in the death of George Floyd, a 46-year old African American man, after being handcuffed and pinned to the ground, with one officer (Derek Chauvin) kneeling on Floyd’s neck. The Mayor of Minneapolis stated, “There is no need to apply that kind of pressure, with a knee to someone’s neck.” During this incident, another officer (Tou Thao) walks complicitly, preventing witnesses from getting involved.
Examples like those provided above have impacted the Black / African American community for years. It is imperative that APIDA-identifying individuals not remain complicit or be passive bystanders when seeing racist actions or policies. As a collective community, we must fight for and demand justice, and we cannot become complicit bystanders when African American lives are taken. The National Council of Asian Pacific Americans (NCAPA) stated, “We cannot ask the Black community to fight anti-Asian racism if we are not willing to fight for them.”
NAPA organizations were founded upon the history of discrimination against the APIDA community. However, we acknowledge that our member organizations are diverse and have members that identify as Black. This statement calls on the values and pillars of each of our member organizations as well as the commitment to advance unity by having our non-Black community actively stand in solidarity for the lives and safety of our Black brothers and sisters.
NAPA encourages and empowers APIDA-identifying individuals to combat anti-racism, especially anti-Black racism and anti-Blackness. Potential actions and changes to accomplish this include, but are not limited to:
- Learn to recognize and understand your own privilege, and examine your own biases.
- Validate the experiences and feelings of Black lives.
- Avoid racist language and call it out when you see or hear it (i.e. microaggressions, stereotyping, and derogatory language such as the N-word.
- Vocalize your support for the Black community and share their stories. Be an active bystander.
- Educate yourself and others about colorism (discrimination based on skin color).
- Support the Black Lives Matter movement, pro-Black progress, and Black organizations.
- Get involved in your company or school’s works or local campaigns to expand opportunities for Black lives.
- Avoid appropriating a culture that is not yours.
- Have an open and honest discussion with children, family members, or others about racism.
- Read books or articles on racial inequality, social injustice, and history of Anti-Black racism.
- Reach out to local, county, state, and government representatives to voice your concerns and demand justice for victims of police violence and Anti-Black racism.
This list is not exhaustive. NAPA remains committed to educating our communities, and will compile a detailed resource guide to be shared at a later time.
The APIDA community must support the African American community. Without solidarity, no progress can be made.
NAPA organizations set the gold standard for Asian Pacific Islander Desi American (APIDA) fraternities and sororities. In addition to meeting the association’s base standards, NAPA member organizations are exposed to resources and expertise to help them continually improve and be the best they can be. Universities, Greek Councils, and students want the best APIDA fraternities and sororities on campus and they can find them in NAPA.
Bilal Badruddin, Chair
National APIDA Panhellenic Association