Who We Are
Established in 2021, Make Us Visible PA is the Pennsylvania state chapter of Make Us Visible, a nationwide initiative to update school curricula with accurate information about Asian American & Pacific Islander history and culture.
Our growing number of sister chapters include: New Jersey, Maryland, New York, Connecticut, Rhode Island, Florida, and North Carolina.
We are a coalition of students, parents, educators, legislators, professionals, and community members advocating for the thoughtful and comprehensive inclusion of Asian American & Pacific Islander (AAPI) studies into K-12 curricula for Pennsylvania public schools.
Our focus is on educating communities across the commonwealth on both the triumphs and tragedies experienced by Asian Americans & Pacific Islanders in the U.S. throughout our nation's history.
Advocate for the thoughtful and comprehensive integration of AAPI history and culture in Pennsylvania K-12 curriculum standards.
On March 30, 2023, PA State Representative Patty Kim re-introduced the AAPI History Inclusion Act (PA H.B. 779) which will provide Asian American & Pacific Islander history instruction in the Pennsylvania K-12 education system. In the previous legislative session, Rep. Kim and PA State Representative Todd Stephens were the prime sponsors of the AAPI History Inclusion Act (H.B. 1917) which had the sponsorship of 26 other Representatives.
On May 31, 2022 and again on December 9, 2022, PA State Senators Maria Collett and Nikil Saval circulated memoranda for co-sponsorship for legislation with their Senate colleagues that would commission and urge schools to incorporate AAPI curriculums and materials. This legislation would be a companion to Representative Patty Kim’s HB 779.
PA State Representative Patty Kim at a press conference with Rep. Todd Stephens, Sen. Nikil Saval, and other supporters of the AAPI History Inclusion Act (H.B. 1917) on May 23, 2022 at the PA state Capitol Building in Harrisburg.
(Credit: Department of Government Services, Harrisburg, PA)
Addressing the Rise in Anti-Asian Hate and Violence
A large contributor to anti-Asian incidents is lack of AAPI visibility in media, leadership positions, and school curricula. Make Us Visible PA focuses on increasing AAPI visibility through improved public school curricula.
Yingying's poem read in Princeton at the #StopAsianHate Rally & Vigil 2021
The Asian American Foundation publishes their survey of attitudes towards Asian Americans annually.
The statistics from 2023 are consistent with previous years. Although the data on safety and belonging are stark, there is also hope in the fact that the majorities of Americans would like more opportunities to learn about AAPI history and to incorporate the AAPI experience in to the teaching of American history.
(TAAF's full report can be found at staatus-index.org.)
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After multiple anti-Asian hate incidents sent shock waves through Montgomery County in 2021, PA residents come together to address the underlying issues of related bullying and violence within their communities and support their fellow community members.
This resulted in the formation of several grassroots organizations whose overlapping goals included strengthening and uplifting underrepresented communities.
Make Us Visible PA was a result of these organizations coalescing. The fact that our membership continues to grow is a testament to how vital this movement is.
Ji Hyun (Denise) Hellenbrand
Kenneth J. Hong
Ahmad Tamim (Tom) Hasani
Joseph (Joe) Hellenbrand
Gabrielle R. Janovsky
Elizabeth (Liz) Kim-Staber