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Asian American Pacific Islander heritage to be taught in Connecticut classrooms in near future

Connecticut will be one of the first states to require Asian American and Pacific Islander history in K-12 classrooms and provide state funding for it.

HARTFORD, Conn — Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage (AAPI) Month celebrate the history of the AAPI community.

And Connecticut is making history as it is one of the first states to require Asian American and Pacific Islander history in K-12 classrooms and provide state funding for it.

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Mother of two, Gurmeet Singh, explained that bringing AAPI studies into the classroom reminds us how far cultural acceptance has come. 

"I belong to a Sikh family, my dad wore a turban, and my two younger brothers wear turbans," explained Singh. "I actually had to, at times, go to the playground and save my brother from older kids who were pulling his turban and taking his turban off." 

That moment left a lasting impression and sparked her mission to advocate for AAPI communities and educate people about their culture. 

"Education is very important and if people are curious, it's important to answer their questions," she said. 

This led Singh to be a volunteer with Make us Visible CT,  an organization that worked tirelessly to bring AAPI studies to Connecticut classrooms. She said seeing the bill passed by the state legislature was a full-circle moment. 

"As a mom, this is my first step towards empowering my daughters, and to empower other kids in our community and say hey, listen, look-- we are in the history books too, and we matter," passionately explained Singh. 

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Under the bill, school boards are required to develop a curriculum by the 2025-2026 school year that highlights AAPI's contributions to civil rights and the development of the U.S.  

"I think for students to learn early on about how Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders contributed to this beautiful American history from a very young age would be very empowering for my girls, and I think it would make them really proud," Singh said.  

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Singh explained that AAPI education is another step toward acceptance and inclusivity in Connecticut. 

"It's important for their classmates to recognize they also contributed and are a part of this beautiful fabric of American history," said Singh. 

Raquel Harrington is the race and culture reporter at FOX61 News. She can be reached at rharrington@fox61.com. Follow her on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram

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