Jersey City adopts resolution supporting AAPI studies in Public Schools statewide

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New Jersey State Assemblyman Raj Mukherji. Photo: Twitter @RajMukherji

At the Nov. 29, 2021, city council meeting, the Jersey City municipal council unanimously adopted a resolution in support of state legislation Senate Bill No. 4021/Assembly Bill No. 6100, bills that require the inclusion of Asian American Pacific Islander (AAPI) history and contributions in New Jersey’s K-12 curriculum.

The Bill was introduced in the assembly by New Jersey State Assemblyman Raj Mukherji, his office informed News India Times.

The council resolution cites the provisions of the legislation, including the steep rise of hate incidents against the AAPI community, and that education and inclusion of AAPI studies in the classrooms would cultivate communities that are more inclusive and serve to create a more just society.

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“We are living in more polarized times. The violence against AAPI communities has given rise to the urgent need for education to combat systemic racism,” Council At-Large Rolando Lavarro, sponsor of the resolution is quoted saying in a press release from his office. “Our education system not only should reflect the diversity of our state but should ensure that future generations grow up with knowledge and values of inclusivity and social justice by learning the history and contributions of AAPI communities.”

“Everyone knows I’m a history buff,” said Ward C Council Rich Boggiano, who was a co-sponsor of the resolution. “Jersey City has always been an immigrant city, and we are lucky to have such an amazing Asian American community. This is a wonderful opportunity to make our history curriculum reflect the diversity of our city.”

Other co-sponsors of the resolution also hailed the passage by the Jersey City Council.

Following the City Council vote, on Thursday, December 2, Councilman Lavarro joined Make Us Visible NJ and nearly a dozen activists urging legislators to pass S4021 and A6100, the press release said.

In advance of a vote by the New Jersey State Senate, Make Us Visible NJ advocates, students and residents gathered in a committee room at the Statehouse shared their personal experiences of racism, and the importance of education in combating bigotry.

With more than 37 sponsors in the state Senate, S4021 passed overwhelmingly with a vote of 38-2.

Make Us Visible NJ, a coalition of students, parents, educators, legislators, professionals, and New Jersey community members advocating for thoughtful and comprehensive inclusion of Asian American and Pacific Islander (AAPI) studies into K-12 curriculum, and the Jersey City Asian American Pacific Islander Coalition AAPI (JCAAPI), a grassroots coalition of Jersey City AAPI individuals, organizations, and allies who come together to take action against hate and prejudice, praised the steps taken to make the bills into law.

The Assembly Education Committee still must hear Assembly Bill No. 6100, and advocates are urging Assembly Education Chair Pamela Lampitt (D-6) to add the bill to the Committee’s agenda. The Assembly Education Committee’s final meeting for the 2020-2021 legislative session is scheduled for December 9.

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