The Asian American-Pacific Islander cultural advocacy group Make Us Visible Florida is rallying in Orlando Saturday to raise awareness and promote two bills that would require history and cultural education in Florida schools.
Make Us Visible Florida is holding “Our Day of Action,” a day of education and advocacy for Asian American history. It will be at the Wah Lum Temple at 2 p.m. Saturday in Orlando. The event, which also will be offered virtually, is ticketed, through EventBrite.
In part, the event is aimed at promoting support for Orlando Democratic Sen. Linda Stewart’s Senate Bill 490 and Orlando Democratic Rep. Anna V. Eskamani‘s House Bill 281, which were partly reactions to the rise in hate crimes against Asian Americans that became apparent early in the coronavirus pandemic.
Those bills would require public schools across Florida to teach about Asian American and Pacific Islander communities’ immigration, citizenship, civil rights, identity, culture and contributions.
Charles Lu, a representative for Make Us Visible Florida, said the organization rose in response to the anti-Asian hatred that became apparent in 2020 and erupted last March when a Georgia man killed eight people, six of them Asian women, in a series of Atlanta spa shootings. The gunman was on his way to Florida when he was arrested.
The organization has held virtual town halls, but this is its first major in-person event. The rally, which will run until 5 p.m., will focus on AAPI history, the importance of education, and advocacy. Stewart is expected to make an appearance while Eskamani is to make a virtual appearances. There also will be music, dances and food.
“We want to support the bill to get the education initiative. If you are interested in helping Asians be better known in the state of Florida, you can come to this event,” Lu said. “We want to establish community leadership and receive recognition.”