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Lavarro and activists push state to add AAPI studies to the school curriculum


General Counsel Rolando Lavarro and a group of activists are pushing for the passage of state legislation that would require the inclusion of the history and contributions of Asian-American Pacific Islands (AAPI) in the New Jersey’s K-12 program.

“We live in a more polarized time. The violence against AAPI communities has given rise to an urgent need for education to combat systemic racism, ”Lavarro said. “Our education system must not only reflect the diversity of our state, but must ensure that future generations grow up with knowledge and values ​​of inclusion and social justice by learning the history and contributions of AAPI communities.”

At its November 29 meeting, Jersey City City Council unanimously passed a resolution supporting legislation pending before the state legislature. The council resolution cites provisions in the legislation, including the sharp increase in hate incidents against the AAPI community, and that education and inclusion of AAPI studies in classrooms would cultivate more inclusive communities and serve to create a fairer society.

On December 2, municipal councilor Lavarro joined Make us visible NJ and nearly a dozen activists urging lawmakers to pass the bills, known as S4021 and A6100.

Ahead of a New Jersey State Senate vote, Make Us Visible NJ advocates, students and residents gathered in a Statehouse committee room and shared their personal experiences of racism and the importance of education in the fight against sectarianism.

With more than 37 sponsors in the state Senate, the bill, S4021, was passed by an overwhelming majority with a vote of 38-2.

However, the Assembly’s Education Committee has yet to hear A6100. A vote is scheduled for its final meeting of the 2020-2021 legislature on December 9.

“We are deeply grateful to City Councilor Lavarro for bringing this resolution forward and to Jersey City Council for their unanimous support for the AAPI Curriculum Bill S4021 / A6100,” said Dr. Kani Ilangoven of Make Us Visible NJ. “We believe it is vital to focus on prevention and education in highlighting how Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders have been and continue to be an integral part of this country.”

said Jennie Jonson of Jersey City AAPI Coalition“The inclusion of AAPI studies in the curriculum of our public schools is long overdue. We are pleased that the leaders of Jersey City and Hudson County recognize the need to fill this void in the interests of inclusion and the creation of a just and just society, ”

Local pols joined Lavarro in his efforts. “Everyone knows I’m a history buff,” said C neighborhood council Rich Boggiano, who was one of the co-sponsors of the resolution. “Jersey City has always been a city of immigrants and we are fortunate to have such an amazing Asian American community. It is a wonderful opportunity to ensure that our history program reflects the diversity of our city.

“It is extremely important that the history and contributions of Asian and Pacific Islander Americans are included in our public education curriculum,” said Ward Council E James Solomon, who also co-sponsored the resolution. of the municipal council. “I am grateful that Jersey City Council has added its voice to the Make Us Visible NJ coalition calling on lawmakers across our state to pass the bill to add this much-needed addition to our public school curriculum.”


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