Danny Chen was only 20 years old when he was singled out for being different. He was the only Asian-American in his unit in the Army and was forced to do excessive sit-ups, push-ups, runs and sprints carrying sandbags. Rocks were thrown at him to simulate artillery. When the soldiers were putting up a tent, Danny was forced to wear a construction hat and give instructions in Chinese, even though none of the other soldiers spoke the language. He also was called racial slurs and was forced to work additional details. After six weeks of abuse, he committed suicide because he could no longer stand the abuse.
Then there was Harry Lew, in the Marine Corps. Harry’s peers took it upon themselves to administer justice and “corrective training.” For almost three and half hours, they berated him and ordered him to dig a deep hole, forced him to do planks, crunches and pushups with heavy full body armor and a 25-lb sandbag on his back. All the while, his abusers kicked and punched him, stomping on his back and poured an entire sandbag onto his face. 20 minutes later - Harry committed suicide.
But Harry and Danny’s stories are only the tip of the iceberg. Just last year, black Private Hamson Daniels McPherson, Jr., stationed in Okinawa, faced near constant racist hazing by his fellow Marines. Finally, he set himself on fire and died.
In 2010, black Army Specialist Brushaun Anderson was pushed to his physical limit for weeks. He was made to build a sandbag wall with no purpose. He was called dirty and forced to wear a plastic trash bag at all times. Finally, he could take no more. He went to the latrine and shot himself to death.
And just this spring, Army Specialist Jarrett Wright made public what happened to him when he joined a unit that called themselves “Crazy Troop.” They forced him onto the bed, ripped off his clothes and used their fingers to forcibly rape him. According to Jarrett all the new guys in the troop experienced some sort of initiation – but he was the only one brave enough to go public.
The military's anti-hazing policies are incomplete and ineffective.
Help end hazing in the military. We need a zero tolerance hazing and harassment policy in the military for all forms of harassment. That includes any harassment based on race, ethnicity, gender and sexual orientation. And we need justice for the victims of hazing in the courts.
If you support our current efforts to bring expedient accountability from the Department of Defense to have a zero-tolerance hazing and harassment policy in place, please sign this e-petition.
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