ORLANDO, Fla. - A petition organized by a Central Florida woman to help stop Asian hate is gaining more signatures.
The Change.org petition is calling for Asian American Pacific Islander history to be taught in Florida schools K-12.
So far, there are about 8,000 signatures for the Florida Board of Education.
Education commissioner Mimi Chan, of a coalition called Make US Visible Florida, says giving children the opportunity to learn about Asian American and Pacific Islander (AAPI) history will help cut down on systematic racism.
"The best way for us in our mind to fight back against violence and ignorance is with knowledge," she said.
After the pandemic occurred, there has been an increase in nationwide attacks on Asian Americans.
According to the group Stop AAPI Hate, there were 9,081 incidents against Asian Americans since the pandemic started.
Chan says, "Since the onset of the pandemic, we’ve seen a rise in anti-Asian American violence. This impacts everyone."
Chan says history lessons could cut down on that.
"So, Make Us Visible Florida is working to draft a bill that will include those studies in the public school curriculum. We really believe by deeply rooting our youth in this education, the history of Asian Americans can create a more inclusive Florida where our differences can be celebrated instead of feared and young Asian Americans, as well, can take pride of their history. And, all young children can learn from the triumph and mistakes of the past."
She says many Asian Americans have stories about being picked on in school.
"Whether it’s something that seems as simple as making fun of someone’s name or their lunch, those things have long-lasting effects, and it’s just really been proven that that kind of adds up over time to what ends up being systemic racism. So, we do find it’s really important that kids can identify."
She says she had to do her own research in learning about AAPI history.
"There’s nothing that mandates any inclusion of AAPI history. And I grew up in Central Florida, and I went to school here in Central Florida. And, it’s shameful to me that I don’t know a lot of Asian American history and had to do research on my own. And I tell you a lot of kids aren’t going to do that on their own. At least having that inclusion is going to check a lot of boxes and help create a more emphatic society."
If you’d like to see the petition, visit this link.