Illinois made it compulsory to teach Asian American history last year

New Jersey has mandated the teaching of Asian American and Pacific Islander history as part of its public school curriculum.

The new law, signed by Democrat Gov Phil Murphy on Tuesday, will affect students in K-12 starting in the 2022-2023 academic year.

Murphy said it was crucial for students to learn about the contributions of the AAPI community.

“The members of our Asian American/Pacific Islander community have contributed so much to our state and nation,” he said in a statement.

“By teaching students about the history and heritage of our AAPI community, we can ensure that the diversity of our state is reflected in our curriculum and create a more tolerant and knowledgeable future for New Jersey. I am proud to sign these bills into law.”

Last year, Murphy created an Asian American Pacific Islander Commission within the N.J. Department of State.

The law makes New Jersey the second state to make Asian American history classes compulsory following Illinois which did so in July 2021.

Kani Ilangovan, the founder of advocacy group Make Us Visible NJ, expressed gratitude for the new law.

“It feels like we are fulfilling our slogan, making ourselves visible,” Ilangovan said.

“My hope is that people come to learn the history that I only learned in the past year of all the different ways Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders have contributed to the building of this country.”