May is Asian Pacific American Heritage Month
May is Asian Pacific American Heritage Month! This is an important time to honor the diversity of Asian cultures and elevate Asian American and Pacific Islander (AAPI) voices while recommitting to stand against hatred toward the Asian and Pacific Islander community. As students and families deal with the trauma of increased violence this year targeted at AAPI communities, we call for a stop to the hate, terrorism, racism and violence perpetrated against AAPI students and families.
The long history of discrimination against AAPI students and families includes stereotyping them as a monolith – both as perpetual foreigners and “model minorities” – and failing to address their diverse needs.
We condemn the rise in hate crimes during the COVID-19 pandemic and recognize that AAPI students live with fear and anxiety that their family members might be attacked.
Families have become more hesitant to send their children to schools that are reopening for fear of what their children may face in and on their way to school.
We urge educators to take affirmative steps to eradicate racist and harmful rhetoric that have fueled attacks on the AAPI community.
To our Asian American and Pacific Islander students and families we say…
We hear you. We see you. We are with you.
IDRA promotes policies and practices that affirm your right to exist and thrive. We affirm that…
You deserve to attend public schools in communities that are safe and free of hate, violence, stigma, discrimination and harassment.
You deserve to attend public schools that celebrate and sustain your culture and cultural identity through affirming curricula and educational practices.
You deserve to attend public schools that recognize your individuality and do not hold up the “perpetual foreigner” or “model minority” myths to justify not meeting your needs.
You deserve to attend public schools that provide you with all of the mental, physical, academic and financial supports that you need to thrive.
Education leaders have the responsibility to prepare teachers and staff to engage students through more culturally responsive and sustaining educational practices. The same biases surrounding race and culture encountered in society can negatively impact students at school.
Teachers have the power to facilitate critical conversations that challenge stereotypes and beliefs and can increase students’ awareness of experiences different from their own and develop their empathy for others.
Promoting equity for students of all races helps schools ensure equal opportunity for learning and academic achievement, improved school climate, and meaningful parent and community engagement. The IDRA EAC-South can help educators address inequities and bias issues impacting race equity. We also work in partnership with schools to conduct an equity audit, respond to student- and staff-based harassment, and train staff to deliver culturally sustaining instruction.
|Resources for Schools and Communities|
|Stop AAPI Hate |
Responding to COVID Bullying, Bias, and Violence Against Asian Americans, website by Colorín Colorado
Anti-Asian Violence: What Schools Should Start Doing About It, by Stephen Sawchuk & Catherine Gewertz, Education Week, March 25, 2021
Library of Congress: Asian/Pacific American Heritage Month resources
U.S. Department of Education: 12 Ways to Enrich Kids’ Appreciation of Asian-Pacific American Culture, 2015
PBS: To Know a People, Know Their Stories