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.