Honoring AAPI Heritage: Reflecting on History to Inform Action

by Mary Ellen Daneels, Civics Instructional Specialist
May is Asian American/Pacific Islander Heritage Month (AAPI). The Illinois Civics Hub partnered with the Illinois Democracy Schools Network to host a free webinar for students and teachers titled, Honoring AAPI Heritage: Reflecting on AAPI History to Inform Action. Participants had an opportunity to reflect on AAPI History, discuss the recent rise in hate crimes against the Asian American community and explore opportunities for students to take informed action.

Dr. Karen Korematsu, Founder and Executive Director of the Fred Korematsu Institute provided a historical grounding for this conversation. Sonia Mathew, Program Officer at the Robert R. McCormick Foundation then led a panel of AAPI champions in an exploration of current events and opportunities for informed action to support the AAPI community and beyond, responding to participant questions throughout.

Panelists included: Some 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.
If you missed the webinar, a recording is available on the Illinois Civics Webinar Archive.

To extend learning about AAPI history throughout the school year, please consider the following: What are you doing to honor AAPI Heritage with your students? Please comment below. Together, we can prepare all students for college, career and civic life.


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