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New graphic novel illuminates AAPI history

A new graphic novel hit the bookstores this month, shedding light on Asian American, Native Hawaiian and Pacific Islander history.

Fighting to Belong! spreads AAPI visibility by sharing pivotal moments that the community has contributed to American history.

To counter this lack of visibility, authors of Fighting to Belong! a History of Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders Vol. 1, Amy Chu and Alexander Chang aim their comic book at children. Through the format and illustrations they hope to engage and educate communities at large.

The release of the graphic novel is critical to the community. According to a survey done by The Asian American Foundation (TAAF), 3 in 10 Americans are unable to name a historical event related to Asian Americans. And as Anti-AAPI hate persists, 19% of Asian Americans feel unsafe in schools.

Chu and Chang have worked together to increase AAPI history knowledge and to decrease anti-AAPI hate through a graphic novel that evokes understanding and empathy.

“People need to understand that it’s not just about politics and history, but it’s about our very culture,” Chu said. “It was kind of a passion project but also something that I think is long overdue.”

The San Francisco nonprofit, TAAF helped launch the first volume, which follows the middle school protagonists throughout AAPI history.

Norman Chen, CEO of TAAF, said “Asian Americans, Native Hawaiians, and Pacific Islanders history is American history. However, today’s students aren’t exposed to our rich narratives and the contributions that helped build this country.”

The graphic novels also come with a curriculum guide for teachers to use in the classroom, KTLA5 reported. It will feature activities and discussion prompts for educators or parents to do with the young readers.

Chen continued, “We believe education is the long-term solution to fight hate, and our hope is that when students see themselves in history books and their peers learn about these stories in class, we can create sense of belonging and shared humanity.”

The second volume will debut in September and the third next January, AXIOS San Francisco reports.

AsAmNews is published by the non-profit, Asian American Media Inc. Follow us on FacebookX, InstagramTikTok and YouTube. Please consider making a tax-deductible donation to support our efforts to produce diverse content about the AAPI communities. We are supported in part by funding provided by the State of California, administered by the California State Library in partnership with the California Department of Social Services and the California Commission on Asian and Pacific Islander American Affairs as part of the Stop the Hate program. To report a hate incident or hate crime and get support, go to CA vs Hate.

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