The White House Initiative on Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders has announced a cooperative campaign aimed at preventing and addressing bullying among Asian-American and Pacific-Islander youths.
The “Act to Change” initiative, created in partnership with the Sikh Coalition and the Coalition of Asian Pacifics in Entertainment, was announced on Thursday and will include a public awareness campaign and a challenge to young people to share their stories with their peers.
“Every day, kids of all ages suffer from being bullied in schools across the country,” the White House said in a fact sheet. “In the Asian American and Pacific Islander (AAPI) community, this problem is often compounded by cultural, religious, and linguistic barriers that can keep AAPI youth from seeking and receiving help. Anecdotal evidence has shown that certain AAPI groups— including South Asian, Muslim, Sikh, Micronesian, LGBT, immigrant, and limited English proficient youth—are more likely to be the targets of bullying.”
A new website, ActtoChange.org, includes resources on bullying in seven languages, toolkits to help students discuss issues, playlists of empowering music, and videos from Asian-American and Pacific-Islander starts like NBA player Jeremy Lin and Star Trek star George Takei discussing their childhood experiences.
Bullying Prevention Follows Research Efforts
The White House Initiative on Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders cited incidents like high rates of bullying and harassment targeting Sikh youth, stereotypes about Muslim students, and attacks on immigrant Asian students at South Philadelphia High School in December 2009 in supporting the need for its new efforts.
The agency launched the effort after researching the needs of Asian-American and Pacific-Islander youths through the AAPI Bullying Prevention Task Force, launched in 2004 in partnership with the U.S. Department of Justice, the U.S. Department of Education, and the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.
The task force’s work included 25 listening sessions in communities around the country. Its research work continues.
“Additionally, to address a lack of data on bullying as it affects AAPI youth, the AAPI Task Force is conducting an informational survey of community leaders through the end of 2015,” the fact sheet says. “The survey is gathering information about what bullying of AAPI students looks like, who is being bullied, on what basis, and whether AAPI students are talking to adults and peers in their schools and communities about the bullying they experience.”
Outside Groups Pledge Support
Act to Change includes support from a variety of businesses and organizations, who’ve committed to sharing its messages, encouraging children to take an anti-bullying pledge, and providing culturally sensitive training for members. Those groups include Twitter, Teach for America, the National Education Association, and the YMCA of the USA.
What do you think? Do school climate and anti-bullying efforts do enough to address the needs of students from all cultural and ethnic backgrounds?
Further reading on bullying, Asian-American, and Pacific-Islander students:
A version of this news article first appeared in the Rules for Engagement blog.