By Randall Yip, AsAmNews Executive Editor
An analysis by the Committee of 100 found that 19 states currently teach some form of Asian American Studies with seven of those states mandating it and 15 more states now considering such requirements.
The push for a more diverse curriculum by the AAPI community gained renewed vigor following the mass killing of eight people at Atlanta area spas, including six Asian women.
“It’s amazing. It just shows the grassroots initiatives of Asian Americans across the nation,” said Russell Jeung, co-founder of Stop AAPI Hate and a professor of Asian American Studies at San Francisco State University said to AsAmNews. “They’ve wanted to respond to the surge in racism with education, both for Asian American students, but also to educate other students. It’s just a reflection of how Asian Americans across the nation are seeking policy solutions.
Jeung will be one of four speakers participating in a virtual panel Wednesday, July 27 at 8 pm Eastern/5 Pacific produced by the Committee of 100.
Other speakers will include Nevada State Representative Natha Anderson, Rhode Island State Representative Barbara Ann Fenton-Fung, and Stewart Kwoh of the Asian American Education Project.
Kwoh, the past executive director of Asian American Advancing Justice, Los Angeles, founded the education project about 18 months ago.
“We felt that Asian Americans needed to be heard and change the status from being invisible in the K through 12 schools, to having visibility,” he said to AsAmNews. “Number one, there was a wave of anti-Asian violence. With close to 24 million Asian Americans, neighbors should know who their neighbors are. Thirdly, without knowing Asian American history, there are severe gaps in American history.”
The group has worked closely with the Los Angeles Unified School District to implement Asian American Studies there for the 2023-24 school year.
A bill recently signed by California Governor Gavin Newsom mandates ethnic studies in California. Schools will be required to offer ethnic studies by 2025 with it being a requirement to graduate high school by 2029.
The Asian American Education Project, along with the Yuri Education Project and the Center for Asian American Media put together a lesson plan tied to the Peabody Award-winning documentary Asian Americans to assist school districts in implementing Asian American history.
In addition, The 1990 Institute is providing free workshops for teachers to address the need to update Asian American and contemporary China educational materials. Teacher workshops are being offered July 30 and August 6.
The Yuri Education Project is now working with the New York Department of Education on its Asian American curriculum.
“If we knew that Asian Americans were a crucial thread in our nation, and that the Asian American history is American history, that we wouldn’t have these escalating anti-Asian attacks,” Freda Lin of the Yuri Education Project told AsAmNews.
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