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NY lawmakers pitch bill mandating Asian-American history in schools to battle racist violence | #hacking | #aihp


ALBANY – State lawmakers say teaching Asian-American history could be the antidote for curing New York of anti-Asian violence over the long term.

“It’s easy to hate who you don’t know,” state Sen. John Liu (D-Queens) said at a Monday press conference at the Capitol.

“And that’s why we’re looking to mandate the teaching of the Asian American experience. Asian American history, Asian American studies – whatever you want to call it – we got to be included.”

A bill sponsored by Liu and Assemblywoman Grace Lee (D-Manhattan) targets anti-Asian bigotry and violence by requiring public students learn each year about the history of Asian Americans and their long-running contributions to the US.

The prospective law would direct the State Education Department to develop curricula for elementary, middle, and high school students that cover the history of Asian Americans, Native Hawaiians, and Pacific islanders.

Such coursework must also cover the “movements and policies” that have affected those groups as well as the “solidarity” among them during periods like the Civil Rights Movement, according to the legislative language.

Assemblywoman Grace Lee implored colleagues to pass the legislation before leaving Albany this year.
Zach Williams / NY POST

“We belong here and we belong in the history books of New York State public schools so we’re here today to make sure that this bill gets passed this session,” Lee said at the press conference while referencing the June 8 end of sessions

Asian Americans have a long history in the United States that extends to the American Revolution, with Chinese laborers playing a key role in the construction of the transcontinental railroad that was key to unlocking America’s potential as a global power.

Other parts of American history, like the confinement of Japanese Americans to camps for suspected disloyalty during the Second World War, show how people with Asian roots often get targeted during times of upheaval.

State Sen. John Liu said teaching more history could go a long way toward reducing hate towards Asian Americans.
Zach Williams / NY POST

The 1982 killing of Chinese immigrant Vincent Chin in Detroit by a laid-off autoworker who attacked him over the success of Japanese car companies is one more example of how ignorance can fuel bigotry – a situation beefed up curriculum requirements could address with a new generation of New Yorkers.

“Convenient scapegoats, scapegoats for everything, from a global pandemic, economic recession, international conflict, you name it, we’ve been blamed for it,” Liu said.

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