This week, we are faced with the tragic news of two mass shootings involving perpetrators who targeted innocent people going about their daily lives, for no other reason than their identities or group membership. On Sunday, May 15, after we sent our response to the horrific attack in Buffalo, New York, a gunman in Laguna Woods, California, opened fire on a group of parishioners attending a luncheon after a service held by the Irvine Taiwanese Presbyterian Church. Most of the members of the congregation are retired and originally from Taiwan. Officials are now investigating the shooting as a hate crime.
Grace Lee Boggs was a Chinese American activist and philosopher whose cross-racial organizing work called for racial justice and the radical transformation of American society. Though the only documentary on her life was released in 2013 and generated wide interest in her life story, Boggs’ legacy has been in the news over the last year as the nation reckons with racist violence against Asian Americans and Black Americans. Alongside the emergence of Black-Asian solidarity marches, there has been increased exploration of histories of collaboration between these communities, the various barriers that have undermined solidarity, and what future collaboration might look like. Described by Angela Davis as someone who “made more contributions to the Black struggle than most Black people have,” Boggs’ life story may provide fertile ground for reflection in these times. Though there are many stories to tell and questions to raise in this ongoing discussion, the story of Grace Lee Boggs is one inspiring example of what it can look like to discover shared stakes, commit to collective action, and leave a legacy that nurtures ongoing resistance.
As violence targeting Asian American and Pacific Islander (AAPI) peoples has grown more visible over recent years, there has been an uptick in awareness and discussion beyond AAPI communities about AAPI history and the many manifestations of racism in the lives of AAPI people. But as these conversations proliferate, reductive conceptions of who “Asian Americans” are and what the community’s history encompasses have become even more prominent. Conversations often fail to address the complicated nature of “Asian Americans” as a concept, how it emerged, and what the “American” part of the phrase may obscure. In this term, we find traces of deep, and often hidden, colonial violence as well as the coordinated resistance, ingenuity, and hope of AAPI people themselves. The complex story surrounding this term provides fertile ground for educators interested in broadening their understanding of and ability to teach about AAPI and API histories and contemporary life.
Asian Pacific Islander Heritage Month each May is a great time to recommit to centering Asian American and Pacific Islander (AAPI) experiences in the classroom. Check out the following resources from a host of cultural institutions including the Wing Luke Museum of the Asian American Experience, Japanese American National Museum, Smithsonian Institution, and California Museum to expand your pool of classroom offerings on the historical and contemporary experiences of AAPI peoples.
In this interview, I spoke with Dr. Guofang Li and Dr. Nicholas D. Hartlep, leading scholars in the field of Asian-American Education, about barriers to delivering quality education to Asian and Pacific Islander American (AAPI) students today. We discussed the emergence and pervasiveness of the “model minority myth” (or “stereotype”), its effects on AAPI and non-AAPI people, and how educators can actively center the needs and experiences of their AAPI students.
It’s Teacher Appreciation Week—a time for our communities to celebrate the vital roles that teachers play in the lives of people young and old. Though First Lady Eleanor Roosevelt insisted that Congress establish an annual day dedicated to teacher recognition in 1953, it was not until 1980 that the first Teacher Appreciation Day was held and 1984 when it was expanded into the Teacher Appreciation Week we have come to know.
Here at Facing History, we see awareness months as opportunities to deepen our knowledge of and attention to the histories and contemporary experiences of historically marginalized communities. However, the focus on celebrating these communities over one particular month can further marginalize the very experiences we are hoping to elevate. With this in mind, what follows is an invitation to engage with important themes raised by Asian / Pacific American Heritage Month
this May and throughout all of the months of the year.
This month, we are sharing eight titles that have been released in the last year that bring important themes in Asian American and Pacific Islander (AAPI) history and contemporary life to the fore. Below is promotional text excerpted from material offered by each book’s publisher:
Here at Facing History, we see awareness months as opportunities to deepen our knowledge of and attention to the histories and contemporary experiences of historically marginalized communities. However, the focus on celebrating these communities over one particular month can further marginalize the very experiences we are hoping to elevate. With this in mind, what follows is an invitation to engage with important themes raised by Asian / Pacific American Heritage Month this May and throughout all of the months of the year.
Though Asian and Pacific Islander American (AAPI) people have faced racist violence in the United States for centuries, the endurance of this racism has become more visible in recent years as an uptick in violence targeting AAPI peoples entered the national consciousness. This virulent racism and the structures that allow it to persist demand response, and education is one of our most powerful tools for raising consciousness and taking steps toward repair.
For many educators who are eager to begin exploring AAPI history and contemporary experiences with students, it can be challenging to know where to start. We invite educators to use the following curricular resources and professional development offerings to begin a journey of reflection, dialogue, and learning in the classroom.
From the work of Edgar Allan Poe to Amanda Gorman, poetry is a powerful medium of expression that has long played an important role in English Language Arts (ELA) education. During National Poetry Month in April and all year long, educators have opportunities to use poetry in the service of many different learning objectives. From shedding light on historical and contemporary experiences to helping students process their own identities and emotions, the medium of poetry offers educators abundant opportunities to help students connect heart, head, and conscience.
This week, people around the world are observing Yom HaShoah or Holocaust Remembrance Day. At Facing History, we take this occasion each spring to remember the six million Jews murdered in the Holocaust, and the Jewish resistance that accompanied and followed these events. Today, we remember the pain, suffering, and loss sustained by the victims, their families, and the generations that have followed them.