Our Call to Action

By Chamiya Carnathan and Penelope Morris
On behalf of Globalize DC’s #Stop Asian Hate Project

In the spring of 2021, amidst rising rates of anti-AAPI hate, some students from our after-school Japanese Tamago program testified before the DC State Board of Education (SBOE) to demand more inclusion of Asian and Asian American content in the DC social studies standards (what all DC public school students in DCPS and DC charter schools are required to learn).

What students learn in school is key to reducing anti-Asian/AAPI hate, and DC’s current social studies standards are not adequately addressing this issue.

Here are just some of the issues we noticed when we reviewed the standards back in 2021:

  • The inclusion of Asian and Asian American content starts far too late in the curriculum – around sixth grade.
  • Most mentions of Asia and Asians are political and fail to explore other aspects of Asian history and culture.
  • Asian history is often explored in relation to American history, not as its own story.
  • Most importantly, there simply isn’t enough Asian and Asian American content in the standards!

You can read more about our findings and recommendations HERE.

Luckily, the DC Office of the State Superintendent of Education (OSSE), with guidance from the State Board, is currently in the process of rewriting the social studies standards. We expect draft standards will be out in mid-December for public comment.

We need to get ready!!

So we at Globalize DC are inviting other DC students and recent graduates (as well as other interested community members) to join with us to review and critique the new draft standards and give meaningful feedback to OSSE and the Board to get the best standards possible. This can make a huge difference in how DC students are educated in the future.

If you or anyone you know is passionate about Asian/AAPI culture and social justice, fill out this simple Google Form so we can keep you updated.

And please join us on Zoom on Thursday, December 8, 5:30 pm for a strategy session to share ideas! You can register HERE.

If you have questions or immediate thoughts, please email sally@globalizedc.org.

Thank you.

Jumping into Japanese

Our SY2022-23 Japanese Plus program has begun, and that means intense Japanese classes twice a week. Here are some quick reflections from some of our students about starting out to learn one of the world’s most challenging languages.


So my name is Kayla and I joined my Japanese class almost a month ago and it has been one of the best things I’ve done for myself. Learning Japanese has expanded my intelligence. I don’t only know Spanish but I also am learning Japanese and as a young black lady that is wonderful and my family is very proud. Something that I really like about this class is the diversity. There are many different people trying to learn a new culture and language, that is very beautiful to me. I will continue my classes and I hope to learn so much more with my wonderful teachers and classmates.


I’m a little bit worried about keeping notes and keeping the knowledge I learned in each class in my head. The three alphabets also scare me a bit, especially because of the chance I’ll feel overwhelmed. I’m honestly scared of feeling overwhelmed and falling behind, but I’m excited to see all the amazing things we’ll do in this program, and the amazing and unique people I’ll eventually meet.


With Japanese classes I am surprised on how much we are learning so far. I feel that when we interact with the teachers and other classmates we learn more which I also find very fun. I like it when we talk to each other, because it makes us all feel closer as friends and/or a community. It’s also fun to see other people learn with you.


Since I have started learning Japanese 2 years ago, the beginning lessons are reviews for me. I know the hiragana and katakana alphabet and a few phrases. But, there are still a few phrases that I have learned. For example, “Anoo, onamae-wa?” which means what is your name. I am really excited for future classes for this 2 year program.


I’ve been enjoying the classes so far. I feel like I’ve been keeping up well. I find it interesting how everyone is referred to a different way, depending on your relationship with the person. For example, you would always call your teacher sensei even when you leave school.


I think learning Japanese will help me grow – to try new things. So far I’ve had a nice experience. I’ve met people who have the same interest as me. I think the lessons are just right and if I practice and study, it can really help me.


I’m really enjoying Japanese Plus so far. I’ve studied Japanese before, but never in person, and I find that I’m learning new vocabulary much faster this way. One thing I find challenging is knowing when to use each level of formality, for example  おはよう versus  おはようございます. I’m looking forward to learning more during the next two years.

Meet and Greet with Graham

By Chamiya Carnathan

Have you ever wondered what candidates running for DC Council member in DC are thinking of the rising violence against Asians and Pacific Islanders? On Friday, October 14th, 2022, my classmate, Penelope Morris, and I, along with the Executive Director of Globalize DC, met Graham McLaughlin in the home of Allister Chang and discussed with him the issues of anti-Asian hate. 

Graham McLaughlin is an Executive at a Fortune 10 company. For eight years, he rented rooms in his house to men out of jail or federal prison to support former inmates in the District. He also frequently hosts events at his home: Sunday meals for talking about religion, Thursday dinners for ex-offenders to learn business skills, and Pancake Saturdays for ex-offenders rebuilding their lives as well as anyone else in the mood for brunch and chat. He received an endorsement from the Washington Post stating that his top priorities include reducing crime and discrimination against LGBT residents. 

Because he knew about our Japanese Tamago #Stop Asian Hate Project, Allister Chang, Ward 2 Member on the DC State Board of Education, invited Globalize DC, as well as several of his own friends, to his home to meet Graham McLaughlin and raise concerns about affordable housing, violence against ethnic groups, support for teachers, and more. “On your education page, I see that you’re passionate about getting children the education that they need,” I said in response to one of the numerous inquiries Graham received, “The social studies standards don’t provide enough information on Asian American history, so I was curious what you thought about inclusion of Asian American standards.” Graham retorted that while he agrees that the standards fall short of meeting their full potential in terms of Asian American content, he lacks the necessary background to speak on the subject of curriculum and Asian American history. In response, Penelope asked if he would be open to collaborating with AAPI organizations to discuss the inclusion of more Asian American history in the DCPS Social Studies Standards. In response, Graham said that he definitely would work with AAPI organizations to advance Asian inclusion in education in the future. This response fit Graham’s character, as he seemed to appreciate the need for collaboration in order to resolve many of DC’s concerns.

In conclusion, meeting Graham McLaughlin was a terrific opportunity to learn about the political philosophies of prospective Council members. I learned from meeting Graham that he was an honest man who was aware of his talents as well as areas where he still needed to learn more. 

Stop Asian Hate – Picking up where we left off

By Penelope Morris

As Globalize DC’s Japanese Plus program starts up again after two years, we are excited to get back to our #Stop Asian Hate Project that we began in the spring of 2021. The project began as a way for us to give back to a community that we, as DC high school students of Japanese, are interested in. We feel that because Asians and Asian Americans have contributed so much to American culture, it is our responsibility to help fight against the rise in anti-Asian/AAPI hate that has taken place since the start of the pandemic.

So as a group, we reviewed the DC social studies standards and made note of places where Asians were mentioned (unsurprisingly, there weren’t many), and places where we believed more content about Asian/AAPI history could be added in order to increase knowledge and understanding of Asians and Asian Americans among DC public school students. Then, we testified before the State Board of Education in June 2021 to advocate for the implementation of these changes, because we believe that the best way to combat hate in the long-term is to educate others about Asian and AAPI history. Now, as we finally resume work on this project, we are looking to organize programming to connect DC students with experts in the field of Asians and Asian Americans in education, such as Professor Sohyun An of Kennesaw State University and Allister Chang, a member of the DC State Board of Education, as well as other members of the Asian and Asian American community here in our own city. We are excited to continue this very important work!

We hope interested DC students and others will join us. You can learn about our work so far at www.japaneseplus.org/jt-stop-asian-hate-project/.

If you’re interested in learning more or want to get involved, please email sally@globalizedc.org.

Would you go to Temple University Japan?

By Chamiya Carnathan

SY2022-2023 is my junior year. It means tough classes, building relationships with teachers, giving advice to underclassmen, and most importantly, worrying about college. I had no clue where I wanted to go for college, but on October 15th, Ha Nguyen talked to Japanese Plus about Temple University, Japan. 

Temple University, Japan Campus (TUJ) is an international campus of Temple University in Philadelphia. TUJ is officially recognized by Japan’s Ministry of Education and offers American bachelor’s, master’s, and doctoral degrees in Tokyo. Studying in Japan was an option that I wanted to do but I wasn’t sure if I needed to be proficient in Japanese. Luckily, TUJ’s classes are taught in English and no Japanese proficiency is required. Ha Nguyen explained that even though the classes are taught in English, TUJ is a gateway towards immersing yourself in Japan’s culture, language, and history. And even though Temple University is an American college, TUJ has students from Australia, Brazil, Taiwan, and many other countries. 

The best part of TUJ is that it is affordable. The average annual tuition and fees at TUJ is about 44% less than out-of-state and 60% less than private colleges or universities for tuition and fees. You can apply for TUJ through the college app and there are no specific requirements for applying for a college out of the country. There is also student aid and scholarships that I can apply for if I want to go to TUJ.

Part of my junior year experience is stressing about which college I want to apply for. Because of Ha Nyugen, she opened up a path that I never knew existed. I now have a secondary option for my original plan. Even one of the past Japanese Plus members, Asa Marshall, is currently attending Temple University in Japan. Who knows, maybe I’ll attend TUJ too.

You can learn more about Temple University, Japan Campus right here: https://www.tuj.ac.jp/ug/about

Applications now being accepted for our SY22-23 Japanese Plus program

Deadline: September 24, 2022

Visit www.japaneseplus.org/japanese-plus/apply-for-japanese-plus/
for current information and application link.

We’re thrilled to finally be able to announce the return next fall of our free afterschool Japanese language, culture and career exposure program for DC public high school students.

It’s been a long wait, due to COVID, but we’re getting ready to come back with our popular Japanese Plus program next school year, thanks to a generous grant from the US-Japan Foundation. This is a fun but intensive program that meets twice a week throughout the school year – one weekday after school (possibly virtual) and Saturday mornings (and some Saturday afternoons). Students who will be 9th, 10th, or 11th graders next school year in either a DCPS or DC public charter school are eligible to apply. We will accept up to 20 students. Japanese Plus is a great program for students with a passion for Japan and an interest in possibly including Japan in their future college, career, and life plans.

We are beginning the student application process this summer. Any student with interest or possible interest in Japanese Plus should take the following steps.

1. Check out this Globalize DC:Japan website for more information on the program. Be sure to read some of our Student Blog. This should give you a good feel for the program and why students love it!

2. Fill out our Japanese Plus Student Interest Form. This way we’ll know who you are and will be able to invite you to any future online information sessions so that we can share more about the program, the application process, and answer any questions you may have. It’s a very quick form that shouldn’t take you more than a few minutes.

3. Be sure you check your email address for emails we send you. This will be our primary way of communicating with you!

4. We will hold our first online Japanese Plus Information Session on Tuesday, June 28 from 5:30-6:00 pm. Click HERE to join us. Anyone who fills out the Japanese Plus Student Interest Form will receive notice of future sessions.

Any questions? Email sally@globalizedc.org any time.

Seeking a part-time Japanese teacher for our SY2022-23 Japanese Plus program

Now that pandemic restrictions appear to be mostly behind us (we hope), we couldn’t be more thrilled to be making plans now – finally – to fully resume our Japanese Plus program for DC students in September 2022!

Japanese Plus is our innovative free afterschool Japanese language, culture, and career exposure program for DC public high school students citywide. Review this page, the student blog, and the full www.japaneseplus.org website for more information about the Japanese Plus program.

We are now seeking a dynamic new part-time Japanese teacher to co-lead this program. Interested? Download the job announcement here:

We will fill the position as soon as we find the right candidate. Please share this announcement with anyone you think might be interested.

Consider making a real difference in the lives of our DC students. Globalize DC’s programs are among the few opportunities available to them – at no cost – to pursue their avid interest in Japanese language and culture.

Any questions? Contact sally@globalizedc.org.

Owen’s Reflection

By Owen Strasberg

My time this year with the Japanese Tamago program was definitely interesting, but also very enjoyable. I got to learn a lot about Japanese culture, history, and how to speak the language! Each lesson taught me more and more and was very engaging. There were some classes where we focused more on history, had a guest speaker, or even one time we made onigiri! They even provided opportunities to help the community with the Stop Asian Hate campaign. The class was great, but it was even better with the people in it. When I entered the program, I only knew one other student in it but as the time went on, I got to meet many different people who shared some of the same interests that I have. The teachers and senpai were very kind and helpful, making sure if we were struggling or had questions to help answer them so we could learn. At one point I had to take a short break to focus on my grades in school, but they welcomed me back to the class and made sure the information on things I missed was available so I could catch up. I went into this class not really sure what I was going to learn, except for some Japanese, but I can confidently say that I got so much more than that out of it. It even has made me consider career paths in Japan. I hope to continue with the classes and learn more Japanese, since I had such an amazing time with the program and people there.

Ronin’s Reflection

By Ronin Arnold-Lee

My experience with this Japanese class was much more than I expected. I thought it was just going to be an exploration of Japanese dialect and the characters of the language. I thought I wasn’t going to get to learn more about the culture. But I did. I got a very satisfying, hands-on, and fun experience in this class. Every class we were doing something new. We were always learning something of the culture, even looking at modern day examples of racism. We did many creative hands-on activities, and worked with other organizations, such as Onigiri Action, in which we made onigiri rice balls the old fashioned way. We made skits in separate groups that were entertaining and required us to use what we learned to the fullest extent. This “class”, to me, has been more than a class, and more of an experience. An experience that I would gladly do again, and learn more from it. 

Announcing the Japanese Tamago #Stop Asian Hate Project

Globalize DC’s SY2020-21 Japanese Tamago program came to a formal conclusion on Wednesday evening, June 2nd, with a fun and heartfelt Final Student Presentation. Our students – dedicated high school students from both DCPS and DC charter schools – shared with the virtually assembled family members and special guests their new Japanese language speaking skills, their increased appreciation for Japanese culture and society, and thoughts about their future Japan-related goals. They also took the opportunity to share publicly for the first time information about their Japanese Tamago #Stop Asian Hate Project, to which they have devoted much time, discussion, and personal reflection throughout this challenging school year. Studying Japanese at a time when anti-Asian rhetoric and violence was surging across the United States created an uncomfortable situation that compelled them to take personal responsibility and action. We couldn’t be prouder of the work our students have begun.

Please read their own words and then check out their work.

We are Japanese Tamago, a Japanese language, culture, and career exposure afterschool program for DC teens. We have decided to use our position as students and consumers of Asian culture to step up and take a stand against AAPI hate during the recent rise in hate crimes against this community. There is not a large Asian population in DC compared to other areas of the country, such as New York or the West Coast, which makes it especially important for allies to be active and vocal in DC.

As a first step we knew we needed to educate ourselves, so the preliminary stages of this project were dedicated to gathering information and resources. We researched both historical and modern hate crimes and looked at the history of the anti-Asian hate movement to see what other activists were doing. After discussing our options, we concluded that the most effective way for us to make our voices heard is to educate others. Many of the hate crimes against the AAPI community come from stereotypes, and if bullies understand the history of Asian Americans and know the reality of this community, we believe they will be less likely to act out in negative ways.

Because education is so essential, we started by reviewing the current DC social studies standards, which are currently being revised by the Office of the State Superintendent for Education (OSSE), with guidance from the DC State Board of Education. We identified places where information about Asia or Asian Americans were explicitly mentioned, and where information about Asia or Asian Americans could easily be included. We have also come up with recommendations for new standards and curriculum, and for programs or events that the school system could implement to decrease AAPI hate by educating the younger generation.

Our next step is to organize educational programs and interviews throughout the summer – both to help us continue with our self-education and to educate others.

Anyone interested in supporting, getting involved, or learning more about our work can fill out this short Interest Form.