Milwaukee, Wis — The Asian American Pacific Islander (AAPI) Coalition of Wisconsin released a statement opposing the Muskego-Norway School Board’s decision to remove When the Emperor Was Divine by Julie Otsuka from their high school’s Accelerated English 10 course. The Coalition also announced a Community Teach-In with the Muskego Community before the School Board’s next meeting.
WHAT: Muskego Community Teach-In: Hear from Muskego Community leaders and AAPI Coalition members Kabby Hong (Teacher of the Year 2022), Ron Kuramoto, President of Wisconsin Chapter, Japanese American Citizens League, and State Rep. Francesca Hong.
WHEN: 6:30 PM, Monday, July 18, 2022
WHERE: Outside the Educational Services Center Building, S87 W18763 Woods Road, Muskego, WI
HOW: Advanced registration is recommended at tinyurl.com/TeachInSignUp
“As anti-Asian hate and violence rises in Wisconsin and across the United States, the Muskego-Norway School Board’s arbitrary decision to go against the recommendation of their teacher-led Curriculum Planning Committee for this award-winning book is alarming,” said Pardeep Kaleka, Co-Chair of AAPI Coalition of Wisconsin.
The Coalition worked closely with Muskego community members to plan the Community Teach-in after the Muskego-Norway School Board denied AAPI Coalition member and Wisconsin Teacher of the Year Kabby Hong’s request to speak at their July 18 meeting.
“The Muskego-Norway School Board’s inexplicable rationale demonstrates a grave misunderstanding of U.S. history. The Board argues, for example, that including the book requires “balance” to understand the U.S. government’s perspective on the internment camps. However, this perspective was already represented in 1987 when President Ronald Reagan signed the Civil Liberties Act of 1987 and issued a formal apology: ‘One hundred twenty thousand persons of Japanese ancestry were forcibly removed from their homes and placed into makeshift internment camps. This action was taken without trial, without jury. It was based solely on race.'” said Ron Kuramoto.
“The AAPI community must not stay silent when attempts are made to deny our history and make us seem like we are separate from the American identity. Asian Americans are Americans, and we have a rich history of literally building this country and proudly serving to defend America,” said Kabby Hong. “We must stand with other communities of color and marginalized groups who are also having their history and identities challenged in schools across this country. Education is one of the best tools we have to fight prejudice, racism and xenophobia as well as build empathy for others.”
Determined to make sure students and community members have access to Otsuka’s novel, the Coalition raised funds to purchase 100 copies of the novel and will give them out at the Community Teach-In. All books were purchased from Wisconsin booksellers, Niche Book Bar and Kismet Books.
You can read the AAPI Coalition of Wisconsin’s full statement here.
The Asian American Pacific Islander (AAPI) Coalition of Wisconsin unites AAPI leaders throughout the state, serving as a conduit for AAPI communities and local/municipal/state resources to come together to stand against Hate and Racism. Born out of a rise in anti-Asian sentiments tied to the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020, our coalition inspires action in and across all communities by confronting racism, connecting resources and serving those affected by hatred and xenophobia.