To: Governor Wolf,
Members of the Pennsylvania Legislature,
Secretary Hagarty of the Pennsylvania Department of Education,
and Community Leaders:
We are Make Us Visible Pennsylvania, a coalition of students, parents, educators, and community members. We urge passing the PA House Bill No. 1917, 2021-2022, Section 1555, requiring the thoughtful and comprehensive inclusion of Asian American and Pacific Islander (AAPI) studies in the K-12 curriculum for Pennsylvania public schools.
The recent surge in anti-Asian hate crimes and violence has emphasized our collective ignorance about AAPI history and cultures is dangerous for AAPI students and a clear disservice to students growing up in an increasingly diverse, interconnected, and globalized society and economy.
Nationwide, the number of reports of anti-Asian bullying and violence is disturbing. During the pandemic, the Stop AAPI hate reporting center received reports of 10,905 incidences of anti-Asian discrimination between March 19, 2020, and December 31, 2021, including 305 reported in Pennsylvania and 10% of the nationwide total reported by youth. Undoubtedly, the number of actual incidents is even higher, with many unreported.
These incidents have highlighted the importance of AAPI history for students to better understand and respect the racial and ethnic identity of their AAPI peers. Early and continued education will foster a sense of self-confidence within our youth, carrying through to adulthood and their future careers.
Achieving this goal requires our curriculum to include the groundbreaking contributions the AAPI community has made to this country and commonwealth. Highlighting AAPI contributions includes curriculum, decoration of classroom walls, library books, lesson slides, and performances. Students will benefit from learning the AAPI community's role in our country's history and the stories of AAPI role models, historical figures, writers, artists, scientists, and contemporary leaders. AAPI history is American History, and a comprehensive understanding of history prepares students for a successful future.
We aim to empower children to see themselves reflected in K-12 curriculum, including AAPI history and culture in the curricula will also tangibly benefit the entire community. We will be more united, empathetic, and respectful to each other. We will be equipped to engage with our interconnected society through improved understanding of cultures, and we will build a more inclusive society that thrives on common interests.
We look forward to collaborating with you to achieve these goals for children in Pennsylvania.
Thank you for your leadership and consideration.
We, the undersigned, are in support of the authors of this letter and join in the petition.
Make Us Visible PA
AAPI Montgomery County
Pop the Bubble
Asian Americans United