As we probably all know, there has been an increasing number of hate crimes against the Asian community recently in the Bay Area and across the country. In response to this violence, we decided to brainstorm ways to provide our students with the space to process what happened and to empower them to take action. It was through our team conversations, as well as conversations with the Japanese language teachers, that the idea for the Stand Together to Stop AAPI Hate website was born. May is Asian American and Pacific Islander (AAPI) Heritage Month, and the start of this month aligns well with our rollout of this website.
For this project, we asked our students: “As a member of the community and citizen of this nation, how would you engage with the community that is facing injustices?” and “How would you respond actively to make a meaningful and positive impact on our community and the nation?”
In response to these questions, students created artwork, posters, poetry, and prose. Some chose to explore what is happening right now, while others chose to learn more and then share their learning with our community. Some students may have family members who have experienced injustices and chose to interview them about those experiences, and others wanted to focus on resources and organizations dedicated to supporting the AAPI community.
This project began when Min reached out to us and the Japanese language teachers to see if there was anything we could do together with our students. We knew that if we were having such emotional reactions to what we were seeing in the news, some of our students likely were as well. The website was the result of a number of conversations as a team, and we decided to start this project in the classroom, and then bring it to the larger Nueva community and ask for their contributions. It was clear from the beginning that this would not only be an important project for our students, but that it would help us heal as well.
We are proud of the work our students shared. We hope to integrate this project into our curricula, and that it will build on the work of the previous year’s students. We see the opportunity for us to incorporate more social justice topics into the curriculum, because this work is so important. Now is the time for us to come together to fight this and other social injustices.
We invite you to visit the site and explore the work of our students. The site offers an array of multimedia, including videos, podcasts, and interviews, along with poetry and stories. If you are interested in contributing, please reach out to us via email.