Prism, Feb 22, 2022
Excerpt from the article:
Advocates say teaching students the history of Asian Americans will help dismantle the perpetual foreigner stereotype forming the basis of many hate incidents. Coalitions with other communities harmed by white supremacy are also essential to combatting anti-Asian violence, and teaching the history of solidarity between communities of color can teach kids how to build power, said Jona Hilario, a statewide co-director with OPAWL, an Ohio-based feminist AAPI group.
“Part of white supremacy is pitting us against each other,” Hilario said. “If we show our children our people have been working together, then our children will see there’s no reason to be seeing each other as competition.”
Hilario has been pushing a bill in the Ohio Statehouse that is part of a nationwide effort by advocates to bring AAPI studies into K-12 schools. Illinois recently passed the TEACH Act, which requires public school students to learn about Asian American history and contributions.
Advocates have also pushed for bills weakening policing over Asian Americans, such as the VISION Act in California, which is currently under consideration in the Senate and, if passed, would protect incarcerated refugees and immigrants from being deported immediately after release.
California also recently introduced two bills to curb anti-Asian hate incidents and protect vulnerable groups in public areas. One bill aims to create passenger safety initiatives amid attacks of Asian American women on public transit and the murder of Michelle Go at a subway station in New York City. The other bill would launch a public education campaign to raise awareness of street harassment that would be accessible to people with limited English proficiency.
“We’ve tried tough-on-crime policies in the past, and it resulted in mass incarceration of people of color. We acted out of fear,” said Kim, who helped draft the VISION Act. “How can we act out of a place of love?”