R.E.A.C.H. Coalition rallies support for bill that proposes inclusion of AANHPI history in curricula at its first-ever Advocacy Day
As community organizations and civil rights advocates commemorate May as Asian American, Native Hawaiian, and Pacific Islander (AANHPI) Heritage Month, numerous initiatives have been undertaken to foster greater inclusivity in America.
On Monday, the R.E.A.C.H. (Representing and Empowering AANHPI Community History) Coalition assembled at the New York State Capitol in Albany, NY, for its first-ever Advocacy Day.
Read: White House releases national strategy for AANHPI communities (January 17, 2023)
The focus of the day was also to rally support for Senate Bill 5963, which proposes the inclusion of AANHPI history in the curricula of public K-12 schools across New York State. Advocates from various affected communities and coalition groups gathered for a press conference alongside Senator John C. Liu and Assembly Member Grace Lee, the bill’s sponsors.
“This legislation is vital for both supporting the identity formation of our students and combating the resurgence of anti-Asian violence,” said Liu, speaking on why the bill. “While our Asian American communities have always been an integral part of our nation, for too long, our history and experiences have been excluded from the curriculum in our schools. The reality is Asian Americans are a part of the fabric of this nation, and Asian American history is American history.”
The senator stated that teaching Asian American history would ensure that students have the chance to learn a more comprehensive history. With the recent passage of the state budget, which allocated a historic $30 million for AAPI community-based organizations, the community’s “combined advocacy is stronger than ever.”
Read: New York legislators introduce AANHPI history bill to combat anti-Asian violence (May 24, 2023)
He expressed gratitude to the R.E.A.C.H. Coalition, as well as the students, families, and educators who are actively striving to ensure their voices are heard, their histories are learned, and their experiences are understood.
“Throughout history, AANHPI communities have stood alongside other historically marginalized groups in the pursuit of justice and equality. Yet, these stories of alliance and shared struggle often go untold,” said Kulsoom Tapal, Education Policy Coordinator, CACF and Co-Lead of R.E.A.C.H. “AANHPI curriculum dismantles the model minority myth by challenging the prevailing stereotypes and misconceptions and recognizing the vast diversity and complexity within AANHPI communities. The integration of AANHPI curriculum is not a mere academic exercise; it is an act of justice and recognition. It is an affirmation that AANHPI history is American history, and our stories deserve to be told.”