Linsey's Letter

The Honorable Grace Meng of the United States House of Representatives

Dear Representative Meng:  

Hi! My name is Linsey. I’m a freshman in high school taking part in eGirl Power’s AAPI Initiative to “Educate, Empower and Elevate” the AAPI community to unite efforts to #StopAsianHate and #StopAAPIHate. An IRS-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.

During these turbulent times, the occurrence and prevalence of Asian American hate has risen drastically, with several thousands of reported incidents of hate crimes from this past year. This makes the AAPI initiative a necessary and even more critical force right now. To me, the AAPI Initiative represents the change and awareness we need in this world to help resolve and dissipate racism against AAPI members. Our society right now is full of issues that demand attention and change, and the AAPI Initiative was made to meet them. eGirl Power focuses on education, as many of these derogatory stereotypes stem from ignorance.  

For instance, we learned about Mamie Tape, an 8-year-old Chinese American girl who helped desegregate schools 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. As a result of the case, it was ruled unconstitutional to deny someone who was born in the US to education regardless of their race. This was a groundbreaking case in regards to AAPI rights, however almost no one knows about it. In fact, a survey found that 42% of people living in the U.S. cannot name a single Asian American. This just conveys how underrepresented AAPI members are, as a case this huge was never even mentioned in my history/social studies class.

That's why I loved your The Teaching Asian Pacific American History Act (H.R. 2283) that you reintroduced! Your act will require Presidential and Congressional Academies to include AAPI history as part of their American history and civics programs and also encourage state and national tests on AAPI history as well. This is absolutely amazing because there are so many parts about AAPI in schools history curriculums that are left out just like Tape v. Hurley. AAPI members played a fundamental role in molding the world we live in today, yet so much of what our ancestors did is almost completely unregarded in school education. In fact, last year when I took Social Studies last year in 8th grade, I never learned anything pertaining to AAPIs besides a small lesson on their role in the Gold Rush. Even this year in AP World History, a lot of what we learned about China was based on an eurocentric perspective.

I firmly believe that with your bill, we can effectively fight and dissipate the disheartening and horrible derogatory ideals and actions done against AAPI members. Racism and stereotypes stem from ignorance so therefore education and awareness is what will best combat them. Frederick Douglass once said “It is easier to build strong children than to repair broken men.'' With that in mind, adding more education about AAPI in school curriculums not only work to target prejudice, but are also taught at an age where the prejudice isn't already deeply ingrained into the children. That is why I strongly hope you will push this much needed piece of legislation into effect, not just to help AAPI members right now in this time of crisis, but also for generations to come, with a future of more diversely educated children.