Illinois Governor J.B. Pritzker recently signed the “Teaching Equitable Asian American Community History (TEAACH) Act.
This act requires “a unit of instruction studying the events of Asian American history, including the history of Asian Americans in Illinois and the Midwest, as well as the contributions of Asian Americans toward advancing civil rights from the 19th century onward” according to USA Today. This will start by the 2022-2023 school year, specifically in public elementary and high schools.
Pritzker also said, “We are setting a new standard for what it means to truly reckon with our history”, implying all parties involved need to be more educated on the topic. Illinois State Rep. Jennifer Gong-Gershowitz co-sponsored the bill. Gong-Gershowitz is a third generation Chinese American. Regarding the bill, she said, “helps create a more inclusive and comprehensive understanding of American history for all students in Illinois and helps fight anti-Asian racism and xenophobia.”
In Illinois alone, there are over 100,000 Asian American students (from K-12). This bill aims to help prevent any hatred or bullying through the use of education. This is the first state to do something like this. In the past year, xenophobia and racism have both been heavily discussed. Though the “#StopAsianHate” phrase was trending for awhile, no states have gone this far to prevent it from happening.
Illinois is the first to jump in and attack these ideas, which will be done through the school system. The goal of teaching students Asian American history would be to ideally have all parties understand everyone is equal. If done properly, this would lessen the hatred going towards the Asian American sides, as Pritzker thinks.
ARTICLE: DANI EGAN
MANAGING EDITOR CARSON CHOATE
PHOTO CREDITS: CHICAGO TRIBUNE
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