AAPI curriculum in NJ schools: Advocates urge action on bill

Growing up, Dr. Kani Ilangovan said she was one of the only Asian American kids in her predominately white school district. Her parents immigrated to the U.S. from India in the 1970s.

She didn’t learn in school that Asian Americans helped build this country, she said. And she recalled experiences with racism.

In March, after a shooter killed six women of Asian descent at three Atlanta-area spas, Ilangovan founded Make Us Visible New Jersey. It’s a coalition of New Jersey teachers, students, parents, politicians, and community members fighting for “thoughtful and comprehensive Asian American and Pacific Islander (AAPI) studies into K through 12 curriculums in New Jersey public schools.”

Asian Americans are the fastest-growing racial group in New Jersey, according to the Asian Pacific Institute on Gender-Based Violence.

“Part of the reason why I founded this group is I was part of this Asian American reading group that was founded by three Princeton students, for the community, who introduced us to AAPI literature that I had never read before,” Ilangovan said. “And it really helped me understand myself in a way that I didn’t before, and I learned history that I never knew.

“I think education is a way to confront (racism),” she said.

This year, Make Us Visible New Jersey has rallied around a bill in the state Legislature that aligns with the coalition’s core mission: It would require schools to teach students about the history and contributions of Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders to the U.S.

The bill passed by a 34 to 2 vote on Thursday in the state Senate. (Source: whyy.org)

 

Image courtesy of thesatimes

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