In an attempt to what could change the face of stereotypes for future generations, two bills enacted by the state of New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy are getting much-deserved applause from citizens representing the AAPI (American Asian and Pacific Islander) community across the nation.
Bill number S4021 will mandate the AAPI history and heritage curriculum to be introduced and followed in the field of social sciences for all schools starting from kindergarten till grade 12.
S3764 suggests setting up of Commission for American Asian Heritage, to boost the transition.
This move sparks a delight as it ensures that contributions made by a section of the country’s population that is increasingly subjected to racism are brought into the light.
Hatred against Asians and neighboring racial groups, often accompanied by violence, has been rising since the beginning of this decade. Stereotypes as the model minority are associated with us yet our patriotism is put under the scanner even at the highest levels. In such a scenario, education is the best medicine to curb this hate and negativity.
Talking to Montclair Patch, Murphy said, “By teaching students about the history and heritage of our AAPI community, we can ensure that the diversity of our state is reflected in our curriculum and create a more tolerant and knowledgeable future for New Jersey.”
It is important people start seeing each other for who they are and who they were rather than buying the conventional stereotypes that flow in the air.
In a statement, Assemblywoman Ellen Park – the first-ever Korean woman appointed as a member of New Jersey General Assembly said, “With these new laws officially in place, we now have a seat at the table, ownership over our own history, and are able to illuminate the many contributions of the AAPI population.”
If anything, the involvement of people of Asian and South Asian descent in shaping the culture that we have today and their role in our current economy, definitely deserves some classroom time. The diversity we have in this generation must reflect in the education we impart in the future.
“All children deserve to know they belong here. All children deserve to feel safe. This law will help ensure Asian Americans are represented in our great American story,” said Kani Ilangovan, a representative of Make Us Visible, New Jersey – a non-profit group focused on advocating the same thoughts about diversity.
Even before the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, hate crimes and discrimination against the AAPI community had been on the rise. The coronavirus situation and the clear instigation by Trump made matters worse.
Speaking to Montclair Patch, Sterley Stanley, the first-ever South Asian from Middlesex County to join the New Jersey General Assembly said, “The Asian American and Pacific Islander community has enriched every corner of New Jersey’s culture, economy, schools, arts, businesses and so much more. The programs developed under this bill will reinforce to students that our state’s diversity is our strength.”
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