Jasmine's Letter

The Honorable Grace Meng of t he United States House of Representatives

Dear Representative Meng:

My name i s Jasmine. I am a 10th grade student in California taking part i n eGirl Power’s AAPI Initiative to “Educate, Empower and Elevate” the AAPI community to unite efforts to #StopAsianHate #StopAAPIHate. An I RS-approved 501(c)3 nonprofit organization, eGirl Power believes the best way to fight discrimination is through education, and this is the spirit and approach of its AAPI Initiative.

I’m writing to describe what the AAPI Initiative means to me.

Through the AAPI Initiative, I have learned about the importance of teaching AAPI history in schools and how the AAPI curriculum can positively affect students, especially other young AAPI girls. The #StopAAPIHate blog has fostered a safe and inclusive educational platform for productive discussion. We were able to hear personal experiences from AAPI girls worldwide.

One case we learned about was Mamie Tape, an 8-year-old Chinese American girl who helped desegregate schools – way back in 1885! Mamie Tape's effort to desegregate the San Francisco public schools went to the California Supreme Court 70 years before Brown v. Board of Education.

I am inspired by Mamie Tape because she fought for justice despite adversity. Mamie Tape’s stance against discrimination exemplifies courage, especially for other young AAPI girls. Mamie Tape’s case also raises awareness regarding historical discrimination against Asian Americans and increases cultural acceptance in school communities. For this reason, it is crucial for AAPI cases such as Tape v. Hurley to be mplemented in public school curriculum.

I support The Teaching Asian Pacific American History Act (H.R. 2283) that you reintroduced in May 2021 in the wake of ever-increasing anti-Asian attacks during COVID-19. This act will help solve for the root cause of AAPI discrimination in the United States by raising awareness about discriminatory laws against the AAPI community. The Teaching Asian Pacific American History Act will also enhance students’ understanding of the positive impact that the AAPI community has had on American history.

I admire you because of the policies you have introduced that are connected to improving education such as t he Community College Student Success Act. I n addition, as the first Asian American to be elected to Congress from New York, you set a unique example for the AAPI community through your response condemning the anti-Asian sentiment resulting from the COVID-19 pandemic. The Teaching Asian Pacific American History Act is deeply intertwined with eGirl Power’s AAPI Initiative goals and values.

A recent survey found that 42 percent of people living in the U.S. cannot name a single Asian American! I believe that this needs to change. Through the Teaching Asian Pacific American History Act, public schools can become the vector to share AAPI history and nurture a new generation of individuals who are educated, empowered, and uplifting regarding AAPI issues.