Artwork: Bee Norton-Tsang

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Atlanta Shooting

On March 16, 2021, a 21-year-old man went into several different spas in Atlanta and shot several people, killing eight and injuring a few. Six of the people who died were of Asian descent, and two were white. Seven were women. On Friday, the authorities publicly identified four of the victims who hadn’t been named before. They were identified as Soon Chung Park, 74; Hyun Jung Grant,, 51; Suncha Kim, 69; and Yong Yue, 63. These attacks brought anti-Asian hate sentiment into a bright spotlight and forced people to realize the amount of hate that Asians have received since the beginning of the pandemic. News coverage about anti -Asian sentiment had been very limited until the pandemic, when people started to blame the COVID-19 situation on Asian people. No problem this large can be blamed on a single group of people. To everyone that has been affected by this attack, we are sorry for the emotional and physical harm this has caused you.

3/28 Rally

On March 28, 2021 we held an Asian American Pacific Islander rally. We hung up a sign on the SF Bay pedestrian footbridge and had speakers from all different organizations say a speech. There were over 1,200 people at the rally supporting the cause. We had Simon Alejandrino, a teacher at Redwood Day School, Berkeley Council Members Robinson and Kesarwani, Harita Kalvai, a Teen Board Member if the non-profit Beyond Differences, Zhi Isabel Adeline Howes also from Beyond Differences, Stanly Pun co-director of AYPAL, Elaine Dang, board member of Act to Change, Lateefah Simon, President of Akonadi Foundation, Annie Wang – Community Relations Director of #HATEISAVIRUS, Jane Bahk, whose children’s book Juna’s Jar received the Asian-Pacific American Librarians Award for Literature, and Ashlyn So, a middle schooler and a passionate activist from the South Bay. We then had student speakers and marched to the bridge where we had lots if support from passing cars.

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AAPI Youth Rising’s ONE/180 Pledge

In honor of AAPI Heritage Month, AAPI Youth Rising is excited to launch our ONE/180 Pledge

Students, parents, and allies, please consider signing the ONE/180 Pledge if you support having at least one lesson of AAPI History + Culture taught in your schools in this coming year

Teachers, school administrators, and educators, please consider signing the ONE/180 Pledge​ if you pledge to teach at least one lesson of AAPI History + Culture in this next academic year.  

We are gathering signatures throughout May, which is Asian American Pacific Islander Heritage Month. 

Why ONE/180?  Out of the standard 180 instructional days in the average student’s school year, we are asking that at least ONE of those days in the next academic year include at least ONE lesson that is dedicated to AAPI History + Culture.

Asian American History is American History. Yet only a few Asian American Pacific Islander stories are taught in K-12 U.S. schools. With the increasing awareness of the invisibility of Asian American histories, it’s more important now than ever to teach the rich culture and histories of AAPI so that we can all learn how AAPI have contributed to America’s diversity and successes. It is time to celebrate all American stories.

The ONE/180 Pledge serves as a symbolic action in support of the movement to re-imagine the way American history is taught. The pledge serves to inspire youth to ask for at least “one class.” Our pledge serves to inspire “one teacher” to take “one action” and teach at least “one class.” These “little” actions can one day mean a lot.  

Visit our home page or for more details about the ONE/180 Pledge. Thank you!

Elementary School Teacher and Inspiration behind the ONE/180 Pledge
Southey Kulkarni

“I love the significance of the ONE/180 pledge: it speaks to how real education is transmitted — person to person — and the total shift in perspective (180 degrees!) that can come from even one such brave action. We can’t wait for district mandates and curricular revisions to include Asian American voices in our classrooms. In most schools, “Asian culture” is presented as folk tales and celebrations in the primary grades, and “history” in two contexts — ancient or United States — in upper grades. That’s a start, but it leaves students with a pretty superficial impression of an endlessly diverse group of cultures if we stop there.

As teachers, we can start with what we (think we) know. The best lesson plans start with conversations, and every classroom has the potential for a meaningful conversation about some basic questions: What constitutes “Asia”? Why? How many countries are considered “Asian”? How many languages, religions, sub-cultures are included? What are the associations we bring to this label and where did they come from? Who is present in this room, in our community, that has roots in these countries? What do they have to share about how it’s been for them? Even if what our students think they know are stereotypes to begin with, if we’re not afraid to go there, then we can start tracing these superficial understandings to something real, or to dispel them and help deconstruct how stereotypes are created and manipulated, and to whose benefit. One day, one lesson, if it’s relevant and real, will inevitably lead to more.”

What does an “American” look like?

Illustrations by AAPI Youth Rising’s Mina Fedor

Hwarang means warrior in Korean. Gyopo means an ethnic Korean who is part of the diaspora.

Little Actions Make a Difference

Each day, we at AAPI Youth Rising are raising our voices and taking actions to create positive change in the world. Just some of the work we’ve done this month includes:

* Making impactful artwork to spread awareness of key issues in our community.
* Rallying our community members, schools, and teachers to pledge to teach diverse histories + stories.
* Registering people to vote.
* Speaking out about the issues affecting us as youth.

Consider taking these actions as well to make a difference!

#LiveTogether Campaign

#LiveTogether Challenge is launched by UNESCO and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Korea.

The #LiveTogether challenge is a global campaign about raising solidarity and inclusion in the international community in the effort to fight racism and discrimination.

AAPI Youth Rising is joining the movement and nominating our partners to participate next!

Learn more about the Instagram initiative at @live_together_campaign

City of Berkeley Proclamation

In May, the City of Berkeley awarded AAPI Youth Rising with a Proclamation acknowledging our work to better our community through youth action. Thank you to @rigelrobinson and @rashikesarwani for nominating us and to the entire City Council for this honor.

Watch our video on IGTV of the award ceremony where AYR members Charlee and Mina accept the proclamation on behalf of our group.

AAPI Youth Action Rally

Thank you to @aapiyouthaction for organizing June’s inspirational rally in Pasadena.

It’s uplifting to see other middle school youth taking action to speak up for our community. AAPI Youth Rising was honored to speak alongside trailblazers @repjudychu@PasadenaMayorGordo#senatorportantino, Susie Woo Associate Professor of American Studies at California State University, Lieutenant Anthony Burgess, AAPI Youth Action organizer Sophie Pang and local youth including @626speakout‘s Alina Wong. S/o also to @ash_citrus for marching alongside us. Together, we’re making positive change in our communities.

Watch for our reel for the events of the rally!

TB to Cam-Ly’s Speech at March for Elders Rally

#tbt to this moving speech by our very own Cam-Ly Nguyen during the March for Elders rally earlier this year. Be on the lookout for more throwbacks of our adventures coming your way!

Thanks @asiansunitedus for having us and a huge shout out to @_cam_cake_ for representing AYR and sharing her story as a proud, Asian American adoptee, and reminding us of the diversity implicit in being American. That’s Cooper on the left, check out @itadakimasutako and his AYR marching style! 

What is one phrase that embodies your American identity?

Check out our reel on IG!

Boys and Girls Club of Malibu Presentation

Working on our presentation for The Boys and Girls club! We are leading a unit about empowering youth voices! We will be sharing the story about our ONE/180 pledge for at least one day of AAPI history and the many ways that youth can take action. Check out the pledge in our bio! Shout out to @genzendigital for developing the Empowered Voices program!

🌸 AAPI Historical Figures Art Project 🌸

Chizu Iiyama

AAPI Youth Rising’s mission is all about raising our youth voices and taking “little” actions to make a difference.

Today, we celebrate Chizu Iiyama, a Nisei activist, social worker, and educator, who was born in San Francisco. She raised her voice as an activist during a time when it was harder to speak up. We at AAPI Youth Rising continue to be inspired by her legacy.

We hope you enjoy this drawing of Chizu Iiyama by Mila Cavagnaro, who also bravely raised her voice during the AAPI Youth Rising Rally in Berkeley, CA on March 28, 2021. The bio is written by Aashi Gupta. Thank you Mila and Aashi for sharing your beautiful creation with us and being a part of the AAPI Youth Rising team.

Fred Korematsu

Spearheading our AAPI Historical Figures Art Project, Bee Norton-Tsang spotlights Fred Korematsu with her amazing drawing!

Fred Korematsu was an Oakland-born civil rights activist who advocated for Japanese Human rights during WWII. Korematsu’s legacy continues to inspire us to raise our youth voices.

Educator and Community Heroes Spotlight

Ms. Chris Chun

We can’t say it enough — teachers continue to inspire us. Through COVID and social movements, educators have worked tirelessly to help us become the positive changemakers we all are meant to be.

To celebrate all that you do, we’re highlighting some of the teachers near and dear to our hearts. First up – Ms. Chris Chun, Asian Student’s Union Advisor and leader of the ASU in culinary adventures throughout the East Bay at @blackpinecircle.

Dr. Russell Jeung

Professor, activist, and changemaker, Dr. Russell Jeung inspires us each day with his dedication to racial justice and inclusion. In addition to his role as Professor of Asian American Studies at @sanfranciscostate , Dr. Jeung also co-founded @stopaapihate in 2020 to track and respond to incidents of hate and violence against the AAPI community. Not to mention, he’s got a great sense of style (peep the sweet shirt by @madowfutur 👀).

Thank you to Dr. Russell Jeung for sending over these materials for this highlight and for doing all that you do.

Mr. Simon Alejandrino

Burning Cheetos for science? Mr. Alejandrino knows how to light up the classroom for 7th and 8th graders at @redwoodday. On top of being a stellar educator, Mr. Alejandrino also MC’d our rally in March!

Read more about this amazing teacher and how Mr. Alejandrino links science to the “real world”.

Kate Lee

A community organizing boss and curriculum editor for the @PBS Asian Americans series, Kate Lee also oversees the curriculum development of The Asian American Education Project – an amazing resources both supported by and listed on AAPI Youth Rising’s ONE/180 Pledge [link in bio to check out the pledge]! @kaaatelee dedicates her career to fighting for more inclusive educational curriculum.

SWIPE to read more about Kate’s inspirational work ✨

Sung Yeon Choimorrow

Ms. Sung Yeon Choimorrow, Executive Director of National Asian Pacific American Women’s Forum! @NAPAWF is a group dedicated to building power with AAPI women and girls in the United States so that we can have agency to make decisions about our bodies, lives, families and communities.

AAPI Youth Rising is organizing to support the HEAL for Immigrant Families Act through NAPAWF. We believe that every person should be able to get affordable health care no matter how long they have been in the U.S.  

We are all about taking little actions to make a difference. Interested in taking action? Check out:

Southey Kulkarni

Southey Kulkarni, an amazing elementary school educator, formerly with Live Oak Charter School, also inspired our ONE/180 Pledge to advocate for at least one day of Asian American History to be taught in schools K-12. Kulkarni has supported AAPI Youth Rising since the beginning and for that we’re so grateful. 

Stewart & Pat Kwoh

Stewart and Pat Kwoh, two trailblazing Asian American educators and civil rights leaders, started @asianamedu to ensure that students across the country would know a more well-rounded and true version of history. We are continually inspired by their work and look forward to learning more from their curriculum ourselves. **Inside scoop – Pic is from Womens’ March LA!**

Ms. Kwoh led the curriculum development project for Untold Civil Rights Stories: Asian Americans Speak Out for Justice and served as the project director for curriculum development for the 2020 PBS docuseries Asian Americans. A true heroine!

Mr. Kwoh is President Emeritus, founder, past president, and past executive director of Asian Americans Advancing Justice – Los Angeles. A true hero!

Aaron Barlin

On top of teaching World and US Literature teacher at Piedmont High, Mr. Barlin also advises both PHS’s @asblovesyou and ASU. A fan of the Socratic method, he hopes that students can see the growth and beauty that come from discomfort and having difficult conversations, especially after all the tumult of the last year.

Mr. Barlin integrates social justice teachings into his curriculum and always finds ways to push his students to further their thought processes and raise their influential young voices for positive change. Also one to walk the talk, Mr. Barlin was also the first signatory on our ONE/180 Pledge!

Go to IG to read more about Mr. Barlin’s work.

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