The recent shooting in Atlanta that killed eight people, including six Asian women, sparked protests and rallies of support of Asian communities across the country. The Atlanta shooting is the deadliest of a long series of violent attacks against Asian Americans, which have skyrocketed since the start of the pandemic in March 2020. Many activists and politicians link the attacks to virulent anti-Asian rhetoric that falsely lays blame for the coronavirus on China, and to a long history of anti-Asian racism in America. Help students discuss ways to stand against anti-Asian racism and understand the history of Asian Americans in the United States. Here are a few resources to get started:
PBS LearningMedia has 30 lesson plans related to the PBS Asian Americans series. This collection includes the stories behind the Chinese Exclusion Act, the incarceration of Japanese Americans during World War II, Southeast Asian refugees after the Vietnam War, Filipino American Farmworkers, the fight for civil rights and much more. Teachers can use these lesson plans which are drawn from the series to explore the ways that Asian Americans have shaped our nation's history.
Another place to start is this article from Learning for Justice by Elizabeth Kleinrock, a 6th grade teacher who is Korean American. Kleinrock shares her own experience as an Asian American and educator, along with a list of ideas and resources to support students of all ages.
Opening space for students to share their experiences--and listen to the experiences of others--can spur conversation and strengthen community. Start with these submissions for the Let’s Talk About Election 2020 youth media challenge about Asian-American discrimination during the pandemic: An audio story from a Korean American student in Idaho and this video from a California student—both sharing personal experiences on the issue.