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Published On: September 22, 2018

(Garden Grove, CA)In a historic moment for California’s Vietnamese-American community, Senator Janet Nguyen is proud to announce that Governor Jerry Brown has signed Senate Bill 895 (SB 895) into law. This new law paves the way for the stories of Vietnamese, Cambodian and Hmong refugees to be included in California’s educational curriculum.

“Beyond passing our stories from generation to generation, our refugee stories will now be memorialized for all California students to learn from,” said Senator Janet Nguyen. “As SB 895’s author, but more importantly as a refugee, I am proud that the State of California has recognized the inherent value and educational merits of this bill and with it the stories of refugees who faced insurmountable odds to regain their freedom.”

Introduced in January of 2018, SB 895 requires the Instructional Quality Commission (IQC) to develop and recommend to the State Board of Education the adoption of model curriculum relative to the refugee experience, specifically it will include the stories of Vietnamese-American refugees, among them the accounts of Vietnamese boat people and the members of the Republic of Vietnam Armed Forces. SB 895 also makes possible a wider collection of refugee stories including stories of the Cambodian genocide and Hmong history and cultural studies. Now that Governor Brown has signed SB 895 into law, the IQC will have until December 31, 2022 to develop and submit the curriculum to the State Board of Education, which has until March 31, 2023 to adopt, modify or revise the content.

“SB 895’s journey began in 2017 when I initiated conversations with the IQC to update their educational materials to reflect refugee stories in the K-12 education system. As roadblocks arose, it became apparent that a legislative solution was needed and as a result, I was proud to author SB 895,” said Senator Janet Nguyen. “Fueled by the community, more than one thousand people traveled to Sacramento to express their support for SB 895 during committee hearings and more than 17,000 signed a petition of support. And it is thanks to the community that SB 895 will now become law and will be forever etched in our hearts as an endeavor that not only tells our stories but which brought us together.”

As the IQC establishes the model curriculum, Senator Nguyen will remain invested in ensuring the content is developed accordingly. In this process, Senator Nguyen will keep the community informed as additional opportunities for input become available.