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.

First Educate Myself

By Camila Marryshow

As a D.C. resident and Japanese Tamago student, I believe it is necessary to participate in supporting Asians and Asian Americans within my community through self-education and the education of others. Since I am learning the Japanese language, it is crucial that I support Japanese people, not just the language, and the first step that I need to take is by educating myself before I can take action in supporting any group; It is more effective to vocalize an injustice and know the reasoning behind it rather than blindly yelling for change. This will 1) demonstrate that I care enough to research the issues that affect a community rather than taking a shortcut and 2) prepare me for questions from others who would like to know more about current issues affecting a community. Additionally, as a non-Asian minority, I am responsible along with other minorities to collectively and actively support and advocate for the safety and civil treatment of Asians, especially within our local communities. By starting with the basics, I along with other Washingtonians and Americans will be able to generate lasting, positive change for Asian and Asian American communities.

Heartbreaking

By Allyson Wallace

It has been heartbreaking seeing what has been going on in the news. While George Floyd’s killer was charged on all three counts for killing George Floyd, Asian Americans have been fighting for their lives. It breaks my heart seeing the Asian Americans being beat to death because of their race. There are Asian Americans who have never seen China, whose family is not from China, who are being blamed for Covid-19. The intensity of the outbreak in the United States is not at the fault of the Asian community, it’s the fault of the selfish white people who make wearing a mask political. It’s the fault of the selfish white people who told themselves the pandemic was not real.

The Influence of Political and Social Figures over the Asian American Community

By Dara Lira

Everyone understands that there are problems in the world. Furthermore, there are inciting events and catalysts to those problems that create them, or make them worse. One of the issues my country, the United States of America, is currently facing is racism towards Asian Americans. The new surge of unwanted and violent actions towards this minority is due to the Coronavirus Pandemic currently plaguing our lives. However, from reading articles about the subject matter at hand, I realized there is a trend popping up in each of these sorts of events. There is always a political or social figure of importance influencing the opinions of the American people. More often than not, these people tend to sway the perception of the minority being targeted in a more negative light. 

A modern example that comes to mind is Donald Trump calling the Covid-19 virus the “China Virus,” or “Kung-flu,” painting the Chinese people and Chinese Americans in a negative light. As Donald Trump is a former American president, he had a lot of power and influence over the civilians in our nation. This occurrence itself may not have started the wave of racism towards Asian-Americans, but it was one of many inciting incidents that rapidly increased the violent outbursts towards the community. However, this is nothing new. I read some articles speaking about many historical events that gave Asian Americans a bad name, especially at the time. One of these incidents is the Japanese internment camps during World War II, in which many Japanese immigrants and Japanese Americans were mistreated and hurt. Even Dr. Seuss, a popular children’s storybook writer, was the artist who drew racist cartoons about the Asian community, as shown below. 

Activism in Japanese Tamago

By Penelope Morris

When I first joined Japanese Tamago, it was strictly for the language; after studying on my own, I wanted to start learning Japanese in a classroom setting. However, I’ve learned that the program is much more than just a language class, and I keep coming back just as much for the lessons on Japanese places, culture, and history as I do to further my study of the language. One thing that I was not expecting when I joined the class but really appreciate is the program’s involvement in current events, such as the recent anti-Asian hate crimes.

In Japanese Tamago, we have been discussing the recent rise in hate crimes against Asians and Pacific Islanders due to the pandemic’s origins in China, and possible courses of action we could take as a class to stand in support of these groups. Because there are not many youth organizations, either independent or within the public school system, that are actively connected to Asia, we feel that it is important that we make the voices of people like us heard. Especially because we are studying Japanese culture, I feel that we have a responsibility to stand up for the people we are learning about. It is a way to further inform ourselves and others of what Asians are going through, engage with the community around us at a time when many of us are isolated, and make our voices heard in a way that will create change.