On Monday, March 29th, a Filipino woman was brutally attacked in New York City while bystanders, including security guards, looked on without intervening. On Tuesday, March 16th, six Asian Pacific Islander (API) women lost their lives in three consecutive shootings in the Atlanta area. Weeks earlier around Lunar New Year, a wave of xenophobic violence swept the San Francisco Bay Area, metro New York and other US cities where numerous API people were attacked and some lost their life.
We ended last school year in a time of unraveling. On May 25th, 2020, George Floyd was murdered under the knee of Derek Chauvin while three other police officers stood by as accomplices. We as educators rose to support and hold space for our students to process and situate this moment in its larger movement, in defense of Black lives, and in the mourning of so many others. A reckoning took hold on the conscience of the nation, and James Baldwin’s words rang loud and clear: “History is literally present in all that we do.” We each were personally called to face our own positionality, our own biases, and our own complicity in sustaining systemic oppression—a call that is and will be ongoing.
Asian/Pacific American Heritage Month is an invitation to pay attention to the history, identities, and stories of Asian and Pacific Islander American (APIA) peoples. It is also a chance for educators to better understand and support APIA students. And as APIA people continue to be victimized by increased acts of racist violence in the wake of the pandemic, educators face additional challenges around how to support students from those communities, lend historical context to these harrowing events, and stand against anti-Asian racism. As Asian/Pacific American Heritage Month draws to a close and we move into the summer months, we invite you to check out our newest resources on these subjects and use them all year long:
In a recent 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 (APIA) students today. We discussed the emergence and pervasiveness of the “model minority myth” (or “stereotype”), its effects on APIA and non-APIA people, and how educators can actively center the needs and experiences of their APIA students.
This Asian/Pacific American (APA) Heritage Month, news of mounting discrimination and violence against Asian Americans has been drawing increased attention to the experiences of this community, past and present. As shutdowns and social distancing recommendations lead Americans to spend more time at home, now is the perfect time to deepen our understanding of the richness of Asian American and Pacific Islander American history, as well as the community's immense resilience and creativity. The following five books released within the last year offer a rich complement to Facing History's curricular materials for any educator eager to learn more about the struggles, resilience, and triumphs of APA peoples. Below, the publisher of each book outlines the material you can expect to encounter: