Mimi Chan never learned about the history of Asian American and Pacific Islanders while going to school in Central Florida. She hopes to have AAPI history implemented statewide so future students will have that opportunity.
How it started: Mimi Chan, an Orlando activist and teacher at Wah Lum Kung Fu & Tai Chi Temple, published a Change petition in May to include AAPI history in Florida public schools to celebrate AAPI Heritage Month.
- On Thursday, the petition reached over 8,000 signatures, closing in on the goal of 10,000 signatures.
- Because of ongoing nationwide trends of verbal and physical abuse against AAPI, Chan believes educating K-12 students about the contributions and legacy of the AAPI community could be a long-term solution.
- Chan said she has had students talk to her out of concern for the safety of AAPI elderly.
- “I really feel as an educator that ignorance needs to be fought with knowledge and knowledge is power,” she said. “I felt that Asian American students would be able to kind of see themselves reflected in history here in this country. Hopefully, by having a more inclusive curriculum, we can have our differences celebrated, instead of feared.”
How it’s going: Chan worked with Florida Rep. Anna V. Eskamani to draft House Bill 281 and Sen. Linda Stewart to draft Senate Bill 490.
- Chan has been a cultural activist in Orlando since 1980 and met with Rep. Eskamani and Sen. Stewart on multiple occasions before reaching out to them about this cause.
- She said both congresswomen have been supportive of AAPI issues in the past and felt comfortable asking for guidance and support.
More about Mimi: Chan is the state lead for the grassroots organization Make Us Visible FL, which seeks to amplify the voices of AAPI activists and community members.
- Since 2016, Chan’s podcast, “Sifu Mimi Chan Show” has aired more than 250 episodes. Her show has helped her explore her own cultural identity, share her experience as a survivor of sexual abuse and learn more about other cultures. Her podcast is available on all streaming platforms.
- Chan was also the martial arts body double for the 1998 Disney animated movie Mulan.
Featured Image via Mimi Chan (left), NBC News (right)