WASHINGTON, D.C.(April 29, 2016) — OCA-Asian Pacific American Advocates commends the inclusion of the anti-hazing amendment proposed by Congresswoman Jackie Speier in the House National Defense Authorization Act.
Yesterday, the House Armed Services Committee (HASC) approved a marked-up version of the 2017 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) that included an anti-hazing amendment introduced by Congresswoman Jackie Speier. This amendment is based on the Harry Lew Military Hazing Accountability and Prevention Act that was introduced earlier this week by Congresswoman Judy Chu. This amendment is designed to further reform the culture of hazing, bullying, and harassment that contributed to the 2011 deaths of Chinese Americans Private Danny Chen and Lance Corporal Harry Lew. A vote on the NDAA by the full House is scheduled for May 16.
“We applaud Congresswoman Chu and Congresswoman Speier for championing such an important issue and ensuring that the amendment was added during markup. Although the Department of Defense has recently made great strides towards creating a more inclusive and respectful military, there is not enough accountability and only a limited selection of data categories like race and sex are included in the reporting mandate,” said Ken Lee, OCA National Chief Executive Officer. “As the military continues to expand those whom it allows to fully serve, such as allowing Sikh Americans to wear turbans and allowing lesbian, gay, and bisexual service members to openly serve, policies must also be made that explicitly include them. This amendment would resolve these issues and put our nation on track so that no more lives like those of Pvt. Danny Chen or Lance Corporal Harry Lew will be needlessly lost.”
“At OCA, we have worked tirelessly for the past five years in partnership with our New York Chapter, Congresswoman Chu, and members of the anti-hazing coalition to push for these kinds of policies within the Department of Defense. We are very happy that this crucial amendment was included in the NDAA as it includes necessary changes that will help protect our servicemembers from bullying and harassment. It is wrong for the men and women who serve our country to be hazed, threatened, or feel unsafe in their own unit while performing the duty of protecting our country and our citizens,” Lee said.
OCA – Asian Pacific American Advocates, is a national organization of community advocates dedicated to improving the social, political, and economic well-being of Asian Pacific Americans (APAs).