My name is Jadzia and I’m an environmental justice student lead in Salem and a current senior in the Salem-Keizer school district.
Over the last few months, we have witnessed countless attacks on the teaching of equity and racial justice in the classroom. From Newberg, OR to Southlake, TX, teaching history accurately has become controversial and has caused major division. Students have been caught over social media for using insensitive terminology, and superintendents fired because a school board doesn't want an equitable inclusive curriculum.
I am a mixed race Japanese-European American. In the last academic year, I took an Advanced Placement U.S History course. I was pleasantly surprised that we covered different Indigenous American tribes from across the U.S, something I haven’t learned yet, and was presented with information on the Freedom Riders of 1961. On the other hand, I was and still am greatly disappointed that Asian American history was not included. There were no readings, videos, or assignments given to educate those who were not aware of the racism and bigotry Asian Americans faced (and still face). There were plenty of opportunities and significant topics around Asian American history that could have been covered. The murder of Vincent Chin, the Chinese Exclusion Act, The Bellingham Riots, The Japanese Internment Camps, and the wrongful conviction of Chol Soo Lee. The fact that these events and many others were not even mentioned in a U.S history course was appalling and further proves that instead of facing the truth, we’d rather ignore how the wrongdoings of this country have impacted minority communities. It is important that representation of all minority communities and their histories is talked about especially in a history course. Ignorance doesn’t fix the racism and exclusion a community has faced and the immoralities this country has committed.
Stand has been advocating for thorough, accurate, and fact based history education through the Lean From History Coalition. Learn from History is a broad-based coalition of organizations of parents, students, teachers, school system leaders, community leaders, and other concerned Americans, facilitated by Stand for Children Leadership Center. Learn From History aims to equip school leaders and families with the tools and language to advocate for fact based history and culturally inclusive curriculum in our schools. Join Stand by visiting the Learn From History website and sharing our toolkits with neighbors, teachers, and students. We must ensure we learn from our history so that we do not repeat it.