FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
February 7, 2023
Media contact: Zowee Aquino (firstname.lastname@example.org / 757-842-0138)
Asian Americans’ vision for education in Virginia is bigger
Annandale, Virginia — Last night, during a townhall in Annandale, VA, Attorney General Jason Miyares continued to show how out-of-touch he is with the majority of Asian Americans by fighting self-manufactured “problems” that do not actually exist. Hamkae Center is particularly disappointed that he is wasting taxpayer resources to investigate whether Virginia public schools shared National Merit Scholarship commendations with students in a timely manner. Certainly, students and families should be notified of commendations from the National Merit Scholarship competition, but the accusation of “anti-Asian discrimination” for variations in how and when students were notified is a clear attempt to manufacture outrage to gain political influence. Students and parents alike have shared that the notification delay had a negligible impact on college admissions or scholarship awards because the information that schools shared was also available to all via a portal on the National Merit Scholarship website.
The Attorney General’s implication that this administrative error constitutes “anti-Asian discrimination” represents a cynical ploy to undermine confidence in our public schools and their efforts to improve racial equity for so many young people, including for Asian American students- especially those from low-income backgrounds. As an organization that works with Asian Americans in Virginia towards social, economic, and racial justice, it is especially insulting to see the “anti-Asian” label being slapped on such a non-issue because it trivializes and draws attention and resources away from addressing the very real racial biases and structural racism that our communities face – such as erasure of Asian American histories from public school Standards of Learning (SOLs) and shortage of funding for English Language Learner classes across the Commonwealth.
Based in our work with Asian American students and parents in Virginia, Hamkae Center’s vision of education is that Asian American communities and students will thrive when ALL Virginia students have the proper opportunities, resources, and support. This includes students attending schools that are fully and fairly funded, seeing themselves in the curriculum, advocating for themselves without worrying about if their English fluency, gender, or sexuality will be scrutinized or a barrier, having teachers who are professionally supported and respected, and receiving meaningful academic help regardless of their income, learning ability, or home circumstances. Most Asian Americans are working alongside other communities towards this shared vision for a more just and equitable Virginia. This vision is well-within the Youngkin administration’s power to achieve. However, instead of finding solutions where all of us can win, they choose to worsen educational inequities by significantly defunding public education and dividing Virginians, made apparent by their disruption of a public process to introduce right-wing bias behind closed doors into the History & Social Sciences SOLs. We will continue to pursue our vision by addressing actual anti-Asian issues with real solutions that uplift all communities in Virginia, and not be distracted by non-issues.
Hamkae Center is a community-based organization with a mission to organize Asian Americans in Virginia to achieve social, economic, and racial justice. Alongside its community members, Hamkae Center works to build a future in which low- and middle-income, immigrant, people of color, and all marginalized communities can fully participate in U.S. society and work together as makers of lasting change.
We are the Virginia affiliate of the NAKASEC Network. Other members include HANA Center (Illinois), Woori Center (Pennsylvania), MinKwon Center for Community Action (New York), and Woori Juntos (Texas).