Advocacy group says passage of AAPI education bill is a step toward inclusion

ORLANDO, Fla. — Education is expanding in Florida after a new law was passed.


Gov. Ron DeSantis signed House Bill 1537 into law in May, which means Asian American and Pacific Islander history will be taught in K-12 curriculums.

Make Us Visible is an advocacy group that empowers local communities to integrate AAPI history into education, and Make Us Visible Florida is part of the nationwide coalition.

The Central Florida group was the driving force behind the bill.

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Mimi Chan, the state director of Make Us Visible Florida, saw the wave of anti-Asian hate crimes in 2021 and wanted to help make a change.

“Education kept coming back as the number one solution to prevent hate crimes and ignorance,” Chan said.

Chan and other community leaders fought to pass the bill in the Florida legislature; after two years of efforts, it became a law.

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While the bill’s signing is a huge milestone, state lawmakers said there is still work to do.

“It is a long process where implementation takes a few years to do,” Chan said.

There is also the question of what exactly the history lesson will be.

The bill includes education on World War II Japanese internment camps, and AAPI immigration, citizenship, civil rights, identity, culture and community contributions to American society.

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“What’s going to happen with the implementation of the AAPI education bill is (that) we’re going to have a debate within the Board of Education of what actually defines the historical context,” Rep. Anna Eskamani said.

DeSantis appoints the Board of Education, and it ultimately decides what will be taught.

At this time, there is a public comment process, but Chan said the signing of this bill is a step in the right direction.

“We’re just really excited to be included now and that we’re a part of what children in school will get to learn about,” she said.

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