Philadelphia City Council passes resolution to help combat anti-Asian hate

PHILADELPHIA (WPVI) -- Philadelphia City Council passed a resolution Thursday that it hopes will help combat anti-Asian hate.

One of the best weapons in the fight against hate is education, and the resolution calls for lessons on Asian American history. Many say this is long overdue.

"The way that we're taught history is very one-sided," said Masterman School junior Kera McCarthy. "We never touch on subjects like Asian American history, like the Chinese Exclusion Act."

It's known as the first significant U.S. law restricting immigration, but it was preceded by the Page Act of 1875, which effectively banned entry by so-called "lewd and immoral" Chinese women.

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And those were the first of many anti-Asian policies.

"I think it's really important that that gets added into the curriculum," she said.

Councilmember At-Large David Oh agreed.

"Especially during this surging Asian hate that we have in this country," he said. "A lot of it I think comes from just ignorance, misinformation, where Asian Americans have been blamed for many things that they are not responsible for. And it has kind of vilified Asian Americans."

Oh introduced the resolution calling on the School District of Philadelphia to help combat anti-Asian hate by providing Asian American history lessons.

Oh wants students to learn about Asian American struggles and contributions.

"Going to the Supreme Court, to establish the foundation of civil rights and constitutional rights in this country," he said. "Asian American troops fighting in World War II."

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The resolution calls for lessons during Asian American Pacific Islander Heritage Month in May, but McCarthy hopes it will eventually become a more significant part of the curriculum.

"African American history became a mandatory class to graduate school in Philadelphia and I think that's definitely a step in the right direction in diversifying the history that we learn in high school. I would love to see Asian American history be an individual course," she said.

Both McCarthy and Oh said the history of all groups in this country must be taught as a way to understand each other better and find common ground in our past experiences and our hopes for the future.
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