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伊利诺伊州议员谈为什么“排华历史”应该纳入中小学课本

已有 265 次阅读2022-9-16 09:46 |个人分类:族裔自信文化自信|系统分类:转帖-知识

伊利诺伊州议员谈为什么“排华历史”应该纳入中小学课本
  • Rep. Jennifer Gong-Gershowitz
    APAPA Speech May 14, 2022
    Thank you for inviting me here to speak tonight. I am so grateful for the work
    that Asian Pacific Islander American Public Affairs Assoc (APAPA) does around the
    country, particularly around including Asian American voices and stories in school
    curriculum.
    My family’s story--or what I knew of it until law school--was the fairytale version
    of the quintessential “American immigrant story” one that paints a picture of
    success, achievement and belonging. It was all true, but it isn’t the whole story.
    I am a third generation Chinese American. My grandparents came to this country
    in the 1920s, started a business and a family, raising their 5 children in what was
    then the small town of Portland, Oregon. All 5 graduated from college, among
    them a doctor, a scientist, a college professor, a music teacher and an artist.
    Two of my uncles served in WWII and my father served our nation in Viet Nam.
    What’s missing is the critical context for my family’s experience, which is
    reflective of the shared experience that shapes what I now understand is Asian
    American history.
    I first learned of the Chinese Exclusion Acts and studied the constitutionality of
    incarcerating Japanese Americans in the 1940s when I was in law school.
    Throughout elementary school, high school, and college, none of my history or
    social studies classes covered these or other Asian American stories.
    I knew nothing of my own family’s history or the shared experiences of other
    Asian American families that are fundamental to American history until law
    school. And so, my cousin, my father, and I began to research our own family
    history.
    We learned that my grandparents faced discrimination and deportation under
    racist policies codified in the Chinese Exclusion Acts. For years, they lived in fear
    of being deported at any moment simply because they were Chinese. They were
    considered illegal human beings by our government at the time.
    My father was just a baby during all of this and my grandparents kept certain
    information from him as he grew up. I thought I had hit a dead end and details
    about my family’s history would forever be a question mark until I learned that
    my grandparents had been represented by a civil rights lawyer who fought my
  • Rep. Jennifer Gong-Gershowitz
    APAPA Speech May 14, 2022
    grandparents’ deportation for over a decade and that his sister-in-law was still
    living in Portland.
    My Dad and I went to Portland as soon as we could and she filled in so much of
    what had been lost to time as we retraced our shared histories.
    Like many immigrants, my grandparents had no idea how to best represent
    themselves in an American court of law. They had no legal background,
    particularly in American law. They weren’t native English speakers. To be frank,
    the cards were stacked firmly against them.
    But thankfully there was a civil rights attorney that helped my family. He guided
    them through the legal process, navigated the often-byzantine immigration
    system, and ultimately helped my grandparents secure United States citizenship
    once and for all. Had my grandparents been denied access to representation
    whether through a lack of right or lack of access I would not be standing in front
    of you today.
    It is because my grandparents had access to representation that they were able to
    secure justice. It is that simple fact that inspired me to focus on immigration law,
    to become the first American to earn a degree in International Human Rights Law
    at Northwestern University, and to launch a legal aid practice to help immigrant
    families just like that civil rights attorney helped mine.
    It also inspired me to run for office. As a legislator, my job is to shape policy that
    reflects my community’s values and to fulfill my duty each and every day to act in
    the public interest and for the common good. As 1 of only 4 Asian Americans out
    of 118 members of the Illinois House, I also have the distinct honor and
    responsibility to ensure that the Asian American community has a voice in the
    legislature.
    I didn’t learn my family’s story until I was in law school. Critical pieces of
    American history were missing from my education. I wasn’t told about the
    Chinese Exclusion Acts in history class. Because of that, a piece of who I am my
    identity was missing.
    That’s why I sponsored a piece of legislation known as the TEAACH Act, which
    made Illinois the first state in America to require k12 history classes include a unit
    on Asian American history.
  • Rep. Jennifer Gong-Gershowitz
    APAPA Speech May 14, 2022
    The TEAACH Act is about uplifting Asian American stories at a time of rising anti-
    Asian hate and violence, ensuring that Asian American history is taught in school.
    The lack of representation in curriculum, positions of power and in media leads to
    miseducation. The TEAACH Act allows all students to learn that Asian Americans
    have been a part of the fabric of American history, providing a framework for all
    students to better understand Asian American communities, experiences, and
    histories.
    This legislation is very personal to me. Learning the truth about my family’s
    history and the larger history of the Asian American community was a pivotal
    moment that inspired me to dedicate my life to fighting for people whose basic
    human rights are at risk. This legislation ensures the next generation of Asian
    American leaders won’t have to travel across the country or attend law school to
    learn about their own history and heritage.
    The TEAACH Act provides examples to young Asian American students who often
    see a lack of role models in commonly-taught American history. I believe that you
    cannot be what you cannot see, and we must let Asian American students see
    what people that look like them have accomplished and how crucial we have
    been to this great nation. Ensuring that Asian American history is taught in our
    schools lays a foundation for all students in Illinois and advances racial equality.
    I also believe that empathy comes from understanding. We cannot do better
    unless we know better. But when people don’t learn about Asian Americans,
    the effect is non-Asian people start to believe in stereotypes and behave towards
    Asian Americans based on those stereotypes. A lack of knowledge is the root
    cause of discrimination and the best weapon against ignorance is education.
    The TEAACH Act takes effect during the 2022-2023 school year in Illinois. After
    TEAACH Act was passed last year, the State Board of Education started
    implementation efforts almost immediately. First, a working group made up of
    educators across the state of Illinois, particularly those with expertise in Asian
    American history, and a broad group of community leaders representing the
    diverse Asian American community was assembled. Of the 25 members of the
    working group, 19 identify as AAPI. That working group developed a variety of
    free resources for teachers across grade levels and subject areas not just in
  • Rep. Jennifer Gong-Gershowitz
    APAPA Speech May 14, 2022
    social studies or history, but incorporating relevant themes and concepts via art,
    music, and other subjects.
    Local grassroots efforts by Asian American organizations and individuals have
    proven invaluable to the process. The locally-focused orgs also working with local
    schools to develop and implement appropriate curriculum.
    Much of the guidance surrounding implementation of the TEAACH Act will occur
    through regional State Board of Education offices, which work with local school
    boards to facilitate. These regional offices will work closely with local school
    districts to implement policies that fit best.
    When we went to launch TEAACH, we understood that the disparity in funding
    from one school to the next would doom a one-size-fits-all approach. According
    to a recent report by GreatSchools.com Illinois has over 800 school districts that
    include over 10,000 schools there are tremendous differences in the advantages
    and challenges each of these schools face.
    Resources must be made available at no cost to teachers. For example, the PBS
    documentary offers companion common core curriculum resources aligned with
    national standards. The Illinois State Board of Education has developed a variety
    of free resources to be used in classrooms, as well. It is an excellent start, but
    creating more high-quality, grade-specific content available for free to all students
    and teachers is crucial expanding these efforts.
    We are also exploring a certification course with the University of Illinois for
    teachers that would be made available to provide formal certification/continuing
    education in teaching Asian American history.
    I applaud Asian Pacific Islander American Public Affairs for the work you are doing
    around the country to implement legislation similar to the TEAACH Act. I was
    overjoyed when I learned that New Jersey has established a similar law.
    From what I understand, you are currently working at the grassroots level in
    California to get SB 1363 approved, which would encourage Asian American
    history to be taught in grades 1 through 12. Getting this legislation approved
    would be a major victory for millions of students in California.
  • Rep. Jennifer Gong-Gershowitz
    APAPA Speech May 14, 2022
    As an advocate for public policy, your most powerful tool is your voice. Be heard!
    Call your state legislators, your governor, and anyone else who might play a role
    in ensuring greater access to Asian American history.
    In my experience as a legislator, I have found that if one constituent calls me
    about an issue, I notice. If five constituents call me about an issue, we have a
    staff meeting to discuss the issue. If ten people call me about an issue, I can be
    confident that most of the district is concerned about the same issue.
    If there isn’t already an effort to pass similar legislation in your state, you can be
    the catalyst that starts the change. APAPA has resources to help you bring the
    message to your legislator and encourage them to take up this crucially-important
    piece of legislation.


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