Opening Your Mind to Different Cultures: eGirl Power Strives to Stop Asian Hate Through Education

In the midst of the COVID-19 global pandemic and the dramatic surge in Asian hate incidents, eGirl Power, a 501(c)3 nonprofit organization, started the AAPI Initiative to stop Asian hate through education and to "Educate, Empower and Elevate" AAPI girls. The initiative was driven by a need to provide a dedicated safe space for AAPI girls to connect, share experiences, and learn about AAPI history.

The program kicked off in July 2021 with the story of Mamie Tape, the eight- year-old Chinese girl who was denied entry into a primary school in San Francisco in 1885 because she was of Chinese descent. Even though her parents brought the case to the California Supreme Court, who ruled in Mamie’s favor, the passage of a state law reestablishing a separate school system for "children of Chinese and Mongolian descent" countered the Court’s decision.

The eGirls were shocked not only that this had happened, but also that few had heard of Mamie Tape. They started a letter-writing campaign to include AAPI history in the nation’s public schools, mentioning the story of Mamie Tape.

Amy Mintz, Founder of eGirl Power, is convinced that education is the solution and that there are many gaps that must be filled. "If we don’t learn about the influences that cultural groups have had on our history, we will miss an accurate view of our society and communities.”

In the second AAPI Educate Activity, which took place in August 2021, eGirl Power Junior Council members learned the history of the term, AAPI, and what people are included in this designation today, from the different regions of Asia to the Pacific Islands, in over 50 countries. Several of the eGirls can be seen in powerful videos expressing what they learned from the activity and how the lessons can be applied in the study of history in American schools, a huge step in eliminating harmful stereotypes.

In the words of one eGirl, “Even some Asians have difficulty understanding the cultures of underrepresented AAPI groups. I’ve learned how diverse these groups are, from the Himalayans to the Arabian Peninsula … coming in all shapes and colors.”

Another eGirl believes, “Opening your mind and being willing to appreciate different ideas and values will lead you to realize that there is no such thing as ‘weird’ or ‘normal.’”

It is crucial, as a key component of stemming the tide of anti-Asian sentiment, to educate the new generation of students about AAPI history. As one eGirl observes, “We are starting at the root cause… and we won’t have any of these discriminatory mindsets anymore.”

Only through education will we have what an eGirl describes as “a more progressive and open society,” and another envisioned as “a safer, healthier, and happier world.”

“Understanding,” one eGirl is convinced, “is the greatest weapon we will have in our arsenal against hate and disunity. Ignorance is the biggest offender in facilitating harmful emotions.”

Be a part of a movement and long-term solution to #StopAsianHate. Please visit the AAPI Initiative to learn more about how you can help.