TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – The Florida House unanimously approved a bill Wednesday that would require schools to teach Asian American and Pacific Islander history in K-12 classrooms.
The bill, which received bipartisan support after being introduced by the Education and Employment Committee, has now been handed to the Florida Senate for a vote.
The new curriculum includes education on World War II Japanese internment camps and the immigration, citizenship, civil rights, identity and culture of the AAPI population.
The Make Us Visible campaign was formed to help champion legislation like this and “to provide every community with the support and resources necessary for them to begin their conversations on Asian American history,” according to its website.
The organization has been working with parents, students, teachers and community members to advocate for the legislation.
Ricky Ly, a civil engineer and food blogger in Central Florida, also organized efforts to rally in Tallahassee, alongside the Orlando Chinese Professional Association, earlier this month in support of the bill.
“Studying AAPI history can help students understand the remarkable achievements and resilience of Asian American and Pacific Islander communities in the face of challenges,” Ly wrote, in part, in a letter issued to the Legislature. “Learning about the rich cultural heritage, notable accomplishments, and significant contributions of AAPI individuals throughout history can instill a sense of admiration, inspiration, and pride in our nation’s diversity and multiculturalism.”
He also added the House passing the bill is a step in the right direction.
“It’s important to be seen and heard to add to the tapestry of the quilt called America,” Ly said. “There’s just so many stories and so much history that’s not told or left out, so hopefully this (bill) builds pride in our country.”
The passage of the bill, filed by Sen. Ana Maria Rodriguez, was amended onto SB 1430 and co-sponsored by a number of other lawmakers.
“I just want us to recognize the Asian American culture and teach the young people about that culture,” said bill co-sponsor State Sen. Linda Stewart in January. “If they learn about it, then they are less likely to go on the street and beat ‘em up because that’s what they are doing. They are shooting them and beating them up.”
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