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Push For State To Require Teaching Of Asian American History In Public Schools

MIAMI (CBSMiami) - A grassroots organization called 'Make Us Visible' is trying to get Asian American history included in public schools curriculum across the country.

Mimi Chan is leading the Florida initiative.

"In my classes, I was probably one of one, maybe two Asian students," explained Chan. "What really makes me proud is all the accomplishments we've made, how we've come together within this country.

Chan started a Change petition, which now has nearly 8,000 signatures.

"Florida doesn't have the largest Asian American population, [but] if you're American, you should learn. It's even more important in places with less Asian Americans," said Chan.

Chan and other organized announced this week that HB281 and SB490 have been filed with the Florida House of Representatives and Senate, pushed by Representative Anna Eskamani and Senator Linda Stewart.

High school students like Julian Alexandre-Wang are also volunteering with getting the word out.

"Trying to educate ourselves and others about our identity is very important," said Alexandre-Wang, who has faced discrimination before.

Since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, anti-Asian hate incidents have surged across the country. 'Stop AAPI Hate' reported more than 9,000 hate incidents from March 2020 to June 2021.

Chan said the hurt and fear culminated with the spa shootings in Atlanta, where eight people were killed. Six of them were women of Asian decent.

"It was definitely a very challenging time, building up until that shooting," said Chan, who believes ignorance aligns with hate.

Chan knows getting this initiative required in schools will be a challenge.

"This is not a political bill. This is an education and public health bill," she emphasized, hoping her fellow Floridians will understand why it's important.

"To dispel the model minority myth, so we're not constantly seen as perpetual foreigners," said Chan. "Learning about the fact that Asian Americans have such an integral part in building this nation into what it is today."

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