Delaware college student, kindergartener advocate for legislation to help support AAPI education

ByHeather Grubola and Nydia Han WPVI logo
Monday, May 20, 2024 3:49PM
Delaware college student, kindergartener advocate for legislation to help support AAPI education
Two bills being heard in Delaware are aimed to be solutions in the fight against anti-Asian rhetoric, violence, and hate.

Two bills being heard in Delaware are aimed to be solutions in the fight against anti-Asian rhetoric, violence, and hate. The legislation was inspired by a dad and a college student, who are getting additional support from a very special kindergartener.

"I believe everyone in Delaware should learn about the vast cultures and traditions of Asian and Pacific Islander communities," said Austin Lou.

Austin is a kindergartener with a grown-up voice advocating for legislation to support AAPIs.

"I'm here today to speak in favor of House bill 322," he said. "I'm proud of my heritage, but sometimes I can feel invisible."

Yunfei Lou is Austin's dad. He grew up in Lewes, Delaware.

"I still kind of struggle with an identity crisis of who I am as a one and a half generation Asian American mom, a lot of the time, I still slip and say them Americans, even though I am an American through and through. I pay taxes, I vote," said Yunfei.

Yunfei wants to instill a sense of belonging among Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders and increase education.

"We basically we want to kind of remove that veil, the mystique around being Asian and really give the community an opportunity to really learn about who we are," he said.

Yunfei has partnered with Devin Jiang, who's a junior at the University of Delaware studying public policy.

"COVID-19 was when I saw this community crumble for the first time and I realized that Asian Americans can't be silent anymore," said Devin.

Together Devin, Yunfei and little Austin are lobbying for AAPI inclusion in education and to establish a state AAPI commission in the form of two bills.

"The first step is to gain more political representation, making sure that we have a voice at the table," said Devin.

"Once we have that commission established, we can then start having some brainstorming sessions on trying to get community feedback," said Yunfei .

SB 297, the AAPI education bill, has already evolved to include programming for all racial, cultural, and ethnic groups.

"We want to be as inclusive as possible," said Yunfei .

"This would mean more educational programs in schools and a stronger sense of belonging for Asian American students like me," said Austin.

The education bill will be heard in committee on May 15. HB 322, which would establish the AAPI state commission, has passed the Delaware House and will also be heard in the Senate.