Tag Archives: History

The John Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act

Advancing Justice – AAJC Applauds House Vote on John Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act 

WASHINGTON, DC — August 24, 2021 ― Asian Americans Advancing Justice – AAJC applauds the U.S. House of Representatives passage of H.R. 4 – the John Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act. Civil rights groups like Asian Americans Advancing Justice – AAJC are calling for widespread support of the John Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act to now pass the Senate. 

John C. Yang, president and executive director of Asian Americans Advancing Justice – AAJC issues the following statement:   

“Our vote is our voice, and our voice is our power. The passage of the John Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act is the first step to counter discriminatory voting laws – a move that was made previously more difficult last month by the U.S. Supreme Court decision in Brnovich v. DNC.  

We need to restore and modernize essential provisions of the 1965 Voting Rights Act that were gutted in the Shelby v. Holder Supreme Court decision and the John Lewis Voting Rights Act does exactly that by addressing the changing needs of America’s diverse population, of significant importance to the fast-growing Asian American community who need essential provisions such as increased language access and removal of other discriminatory barriers to voting.  

The Voting Rights Act has a long history of support across the political spectrum, and the John Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act should have the same when it moves to the Senate.” 

Read more about the Voting Rights Advancement act here – Support H.R. 4, John Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act – Government Accountability Project

Read APIAVote’s statement on the House Passage of the John Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act here: https://www.apiavote.org/press/HousePassesHR4 

“It is disappointing that 56 years after the Voting Rights of 1965 became the law of the land that this legislation is necessary. After being gutted by two recent Supreme Court decisions, including Shelby v. Holder and Brnovich v. Democratic National Committee, state legislatures across the country have passed laws making it harder to vote – especially for historically marginalized communities, including Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders.”

“Nationally, AAPI voters had the largest increase in turnout among all racial groups between the 2016 and 2020 presidential elections. Despite the risks of the pandemic and growing hate incidents, AAPI voters showed up – thanks in large part to measures that expanded access to the polls. We know 73 percent of AAPI voters cast their ballots early or by mail in the 2020 election. We also know the demand for in-language materials was extraordinarily high in our communities. And without federal action now, AAPI voters may not have these options in the future.”

The TEAACH Act in Illinois

Illinois has become the first state to mandate that Asian American history be part of its public school curriculum thanks to advocacy efforts from numerous individuals and organizations, largely led by Asian Americans Advancing Justice-Chicago.

Teaching Equitable Asian American Community History (TEAACH) Act (HB 376) will paint a more complete picture of our shared history by adding Asian American history to the Illinois School Code. The TEAACH Act will ensure that Asian American stories and experiences are highlighted in Illinois, not just the stories of Asians outside the United States. 

NBC Chicago: Pritzker Signs Law Making Illinois First State to Require Asian American History Be Taught in Schools

“Gov. J.B. Pritzker on Friday [July 9, 2021] signed into law a new measure making Illinois the first state in the U.S. to require Asian American history be taught in public schools. Pritzker signed House Bill 376, the Teaching Equitable Asian American History or TEAACH Act, at Niles West High School in suburban Skokie. The new law requires every public elementary and high school in the state to devote a unit of curriculum to the history of Asian Americans in the United States.”

“We are setting a new standard for what it means to truly reckon with our history,” Pritzker said in a statement. “It’s a new standard that helps us understand one another, and, ultimately, to move ourselves closer to the nation of our ideals.”

“The curriculum must include “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,” the legislation reads.”

“These events shall include the contributions made by individual Asian Americans in government and the arts, humanities, and sciences, as well as the contributions of Asian American communities to the economic, cultural, social, and political development of the United States,” per the new law. The law takes effect on Jan. 1 and the requirement begins with the start of the 2022-2023 school year.”

Read more about the TEAACH Act from Asian Americans Advancing Justice-Chicago, who was the lead organization in this effort.


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You, Me & White Supremacy Continues: MARCH 10-APRIL 7

4-part webinar series will touch on the anti-Asian violence that has been in recent news, as well as the longstanding history of sinophobia in the United States that has allowed for this escalation. We will also be doing a brief bystander intervention training that will allow participants to walk away from this webinar with some information about de-escalation and non-carceral options for communities to explore when harm or violence does occur.

Register for the event.

2020 Census and Voter Registration

Ranging from local to national efforts to increase civic engagement within and representation for AANHPI communities across the country, many of our network partners have initiated their own campaigns and mobilization efforts to engage and encourage political participation through the 2020 Census and voter registration for the November elections.

Rising Voices for Asian American Families has been providing information on the 2020 Census and encouraging communities in Michigan to complete the census through their 2020 Census Pledge. Now more than ever, it is glaringly obvious how important it is for our communities to be visible and accurately counted. The availability of culturally competent medical services and public health information and updates is informed by the data that the census aims to capture. Take action and get counted today, for our communities’ fair share of funding, resources, and representation! Remind your family, friends, and loved ones to fill out their census (online, by phone, or by mail) and for them to inform their networks. The census is available to be completed in 13 different languages, and census language guides are available in both video and print form in 59 non-English languages. More information on 2020 Census guidelines and resources can be found here.

North Carolina Asian Americans Together (NCAAT) is committed to raising the visibility and voice of the AANHPI population in North Carolina through building up and motivating an electorate throughout the state. More work needs to be done to bridge the gap between registered voters and the voting-eligible population in AANHPI communities. One key way they achieve this goal is through voter registration drives conducted in communities with high AANHPI populations with the help of volunteers, particularly individuals from the local AANHPI communities. Read more about how NCAAT actively engages with communities to amplify their voices and join their effort to increase AANHPI representation and voice in North Carolina!