Florida lawmakers passed a bill Wednesday that would mandate K-12 schools to teach Asian American and Pacific Islander history in their standard curriculum.
The Senate voted 113-0 to pass HB 287 which will take effect July 1. The newly passed bill requires the instruction of AAPI history and contributions such as immigration, citizenship, civil rights, identity, and culture of AAPI communities.
The K-12 curriculum in Florida also includes the history of slavery in the U.S. along with the history of the Holocaust, WMFE reports.
However, the passing of this bill comes after Florida lawmakers recently rejected an AP African American course due to its “Stop WOKE” law in February. Civil rights advocates described the curriculum ban as a “blatant attempt to divide communities of color,” according to Ethnic Media Services.
Mimi Chan, the Director of Make Us Visible Florida, told WMFE that for the past two years, Chan fought to have AAPI history represented in classrooms across the state—especially amid the drastic spike in anti-Asian hate crimes.
“I think one of the issues that we’re fighting is that perpetual foreigner syndrome, that we’re always seen as foreigners, or, people asking you where you’re from,” said Chan. “And then as, as you know, and I know the last few years and the rise of anti-Asian hate crimes has been really devastating for our community.”
Chan hopes that by expanding the curriculum with more culturally comprehensive teachings, local AAPI communities can be empowered with representation and inclusion.
“Something I think is essential not for just us as Americans but for our youth, is to learn about the contributions of these Asian Americans in history and that they can learn from the triumphs and mistakes of the past. That way we can take pride in our history.”
The group is joined by 13 active state chapters in promoting AAPI history including in states that have also passed it such as New Jersey, Connecticut, and Rhode Island, according to its website.
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