Stop AAPI Hate

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On the evening of March 16th, eight people were murdered in horrific shootings in the Atlanta area. Six of the victims were of Asian descent. The Illinois Civics Hub and Democracy Schools Initiative mourn with the families and friends of loved ones who were lost in the attacks. These attacks appear to be the latest horrifying incident of anti-Asian and Pacific Islander sentiment in our country, According to the Center for the Study of Hate and Extremism at California State University, San Bernardino, hate crimes against Asian Americans in the 16 largest U.S. cities have spiked by nearly 150% during 2020, while overall hate crimes dropped by 7%. Stop AAPI Hate has also released a national report that covers the nearly 3,800 incidents of violence that have been directed against Asian Americans.

When tragedy and violence occurs, classrooms become an important venue for students to process current events, clarify facts and ask questions. Civic learning providers have responded with resources to help educators support students in these troubling times.

We demonstrate solidarity with our friends in the Asian and Pacific Islander community who are fearful and grieving because of this recent attack and the many other hateful assaults on their community. We especially want to acknowledge the pain and trauma that our APIA teachers may be facing along with that of our APIA students. Some other ideas for informed action include:

  • Asian Americans Advancing Justice is providing Bystander Intervention training which may be helpful in giving you strategies to address incidents that might occur.
  • The TEAACH Act will amend the Illinois School Code to include an Asian American History Curriculum in every public school in Illinois. It also pairs with the five-hour PBS film series and K-12 curricula, compliant with Common Core and National Standards, designed to be easily adopted into lesson plans and curricula. It recently passed through an Illinois House Committee and will head to the House floor for a vote.

It is important to think about the relationship between these attacks and the continued anti-Black racism and anti-immigrant rhetoric that permeates our history and collective consciousness. It is our hope that we can come together and see each other’s humanity while recognizing the shared trauma that many of our communities are facing in this difficult moment. We hope that our teachers and students are able to find ways to take care of themselves and be in community with each other during these trying times.