As schools reopen and students anticipate going back to school, some students are scared and worried about their safety and the safety of their friends and family members. As we have seen a surge of unprovoked violence, we at Californians Together are saddened and sickened by the hateful speech and disturbing attacks on Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders in our communities. The deaths in Atlanta serve as a lesson to what years of demonizing the Asian community can cause. We reject those who choose to see our brothers and sisters as less than and fail to see the beauty of their languages and cultures.
We call upon all districts, schools and leaders to work intentionally to build community with API students and their families. Schools need to be a place of security, safety and support. Schools should not shy away from bringing difficult discussions about anti-Asian hate into our classrooms. In fact, Learning for Justice (formerly Teaching Tolerance) has recently released a lesson plan focused on the recent shootings in Atlanta, and the youth group Student Voice has compiled a list of education resources, including a great post from Educators 4 Social Change entitled “Teaching About Anti-Asian Racism and Xenophobia” Oakland USD has also launched a webpage with several resources including curriculum resources guides for both elementary and secondary levels to address anti-Asian hate.
We need to recognize what our students are feeling and experiencing that causes pain, anger and sadness. It is our duty to honor every child for who they are and what they contribute to our lives, state and nation needs to be a high priority. We cannot open school without reaching out to those who are hurting and scared. We stand with the API community against the hatred and violence of the past and present. Let school be a place of healing for all of us.