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Alexandra Ni’s Testimony

Alexandra Ni’s Testimony
March  24, 2021 
“Stop Asian Hate Solidarity Rally” in Columbia, MD

My name is Alexandra Ni. I am currently a 7th-grade student in Howard county. We are here today to mourn the Atlanta shooting victims and show solidarity and unity to stop the hate towards the AAPI community. The tragedy in Atlanta and surging anti-Asian hate crimes are horrifying. Every sensible person has showed their humanity. I want to offer a solution from the perspective of a student currently in the school system.

I am an Asian American girl. I was born in this country. In the past, I rarely labeled myself as an Asian American or Chinese American specifically. I simply thought of myself as an American, just like all of my classmates. About one and a half years ago, my perspective changed when my dad asked me to review a book titled “Factory Girls.” I asked him why. He told me he served in the school textbook committee to help recommend readings for students but was surprised to learn that there was no book devoted to Asian Americans in the list. This also surprised me and made me recall what I learned from my social studies and history classes.

I ended up finding almost NOTHING about the contributions made by Asian Americans. I wondered why. I decided to conduct some initial research myself. I found the 442nd Infantry Regiment, the most decorated unit for its size in US military history. I found Edward Day Cohota, an ethnic Chinese soldier who fought in the Civil War and served thirty years of active service; he was denied American citizenship due to the 1882 Chinese Exclusion Act, which was not repealed until 1943. I found 9-year old Chinese American Martha Lum. Her Family’s supreme court case challenged school segregation in 1920’s Mississippi, which helped pave the way for 1954 supreme court ruling in the landmark civil rights case Brown v. Board of Education. And many, many more. But I found NONE, not a single one of these in our classroom. NONE, not a single one of these in our standard textbooks.

So, here is my solution. It is not shouting towards shouting. It is not fighting towards fighting. It is not responding to hate with more hate. It is to genuinely acknowledge that we exist, matter, and are NOT insignificant. It is to truly let us be seen, heard and counted. It is to finally include us, Asian Americans, as part of American history, as part of the American dream. Thank you!

 

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