Senator seeks support to pass “comfort women” education bill
by Andrew Shilling
Jul 16, 2014 | 1283 views | 1 1 comments | 3 3 recommendations | email to a friend | print
State Senator Tony Avella calls for support of the “comfort women” bill at his office with Korean community leaders.
State Senator Tony Avella calls for support of the “comfort women” bill at his office with Korean community leaders.
slideshow
Community activist Adam King and Korean American Public Affairs Committee member David Lee with State Senator Tony Avella.
Community activist Adam King and Korean American Public Affairs Committee member David Lee with State Senator Tony Avella.
slideshow
Christine Colligan of the Korean Parents Association of NY
Christine Colligan of the Korean Parents Association of NY
slideshow
The dark history of “comfort women” during WWII is one that has not been forgotten in the Korean communities of New York. However, recent state legislation to require the history of comfort women be taught in public school has still not seen a vote in the Assembly.

Passed by the State Senate in June, the “comfort women” legislation would amend opening paragraphs of the State Education Law to include curriculum instruction on the violence against women during periods of armed conflict, including the time when nearly 400,000 women were forced into sexual slavery by the Imperial Japanese Army that occupied Korea during WWII.

State Senator Tony Avella explained that teaching this history in state schools is something that is important on many levels.

“We have too many situations, even occurring today, of sex trafficking all across the globe,” Avella said. “Whether it’s happening today or in the past, we should call it what it is: an atrocity against women.”

Although the bill has seen resistance in the Assembly, Avella said he is hopeful it will be revisited during a special session in November.

“Hopefully we can get an Assembly sponsor and pass it in the Assembly,” he said. “If not, when we go out next session I will reintroduce the bill.”

In addition to the history of the inclusion of curriculum surrounding the “comfort women,” the bill - introduced by Avella - would also require SUNY schools to recommend courses in historical events like the Holocaust and the mass starvation of Ireland from 1845 to 1850.

As explained in the bill, the inclusion of these historical events would be built-in in order to “prescribe courses of instruction in patriotism, citizenship and human rights issues.”

“Some people in the Assembly don’t get it, and they think it’s an international issue and isn’t important to the people who live here,” Avella said. “I think if we keep moving the ball down the court, we’ll eventually get this done.”

Christina Culligan of the Korean Parents Association of NY joined Avella last week at his office on Bell Boulevard in Bayside to urge state lawmakers to bring the bill to a vote.

“Justice must be served to teach children that this is a major violation of a woman’s human rights,’ Culligan said.

Community activist Adam Kim said because much of the world still does not recognize the severity of what happened in the not-so-distant past, teaching this history in public schools is an obligation.

“This is a giant step because up till now, all New York students didn’t know what happened to the comfort women in WWII,” he said. “However the Japanese still do not recognize this.”

Comments
(1)
Comments-icon Post a Comment
humanrightsTiananmen
|
August 07, 2014
I was very shocked by the news that 122 Korean women claimed that “we were the U.S. military comfort women”, and sued the class action lawsuit on June 25, 2014.

http://iamkoream.com/comfort-women-for-u-s-military-sue-south-korean-government/

http://articles.chicagotribune.com/2014-07-11/news/sns-rt-us-southkorea-usa-military-20140711_1_u-s-forces-u-s-troops-human-trafficking

If the issue is a human rights concern for the future of all nations, we should memorialize all comfort women, including females forced into sexual slavery by the USA military and Korean Government itself during and after the Korean War. The USA is very deeply committed to this Korean “comfort women” matter as an assailant of violence against women. Tony Avella should not be a hypocrite. He said “Whether it’s happening today or in the past, we should call it what it is: an atrocity against women.”

First, he should seek support to pass education of Korean comfort women who were enslaved by the US military, for human rights of women, the very purpose of his political activity. He has something to do before criticizing the other country’s past 70 years ago.