To celebrate AAPI Heritage Month, OCA Fairfield Chapter in Connecticut held a panel discussion on May 4, on the state of Asian hate incidences during the last year and explore ways that we can help the Asian community. We collaborated with AAPI Westport, a non-profit group committed to educating others about AAPI history and experiences, and the Westport Library, where the event was held.
To set up the discussion, we screened the 1-hour long film, “We need to Talk About Anti-Asian Hate” by Eugene Lee Yang. It covered the history of anti-Asian sentiment and biases in the U.S. as well as the need for us to stand up, be heard and seen, and increase our representation in order to affect change. The film provided a good foundation for the panel discussion, which moderated by NBC investigative reporter Vicky Nguyen. Panelists included Connecticut’s first Asian Attorney General, William Tong; Mike Keo, founder of #IAmNotAVirus and co-founder of MakeUsVisible; Patra Kanchanagom, co-founder of AAPI Westport; and Miriam Yeung, President of OCA Fairfield. The panelists shared their personal experiences of poignant incidences. Attorney General Tong remarked that it is not unusual for him to experiences racial slurs. “I am your Attorney General, yes, but if you go to my twitter feed, you will probably see somebody saying something about me and my race.” Miriam spoke of the importance of engaging children in the process of teaching.
Mike Keo, who has been an activist pushing to bring AAPI history to the class room, spoke of the imminent passage of the bill that will require teaching AAPI history and experiences in K-12, with funding for a localized curriculum. (3 weeks later, on June 1, the bill was signed into law by Governor Lamont, making Connecticut the first state to require and fund the teaching of Asian American history.)
Connecticut News 12 TV covered and reported our event. * click News 12 TV Report to watch the news