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Asian Immigrant Students Stand up Against Racial Violence at South Philly High

On December 3rd, 2009, 26 Asian immigrant students were attacked both inside and directly outside of South Philadelphia High School. Although the attacks went on through the course of an entire school day, school staff and administration failed to protect the students and even took actions that exposed the students to more attacks.

Over 50 Asian immigrant students from South Philadelphia High School courageously stood up against the anti-immigrant/anti-Asian violence that has been going on for years at their school. The students boycotted school for eight days, demanding accountability from school leadership.

AAU worked with a strong and passionate team of allies to support the students.

During the eight days of the boycott, the students documented their experiences, analyzed the problem of anti-Asian violence at their school, proposed solutions, decided on strategies, testified at a school board meeting, met with the Superintendent of the School District, held press conferences, and made allies.

Most importantly, the students were unified, they stood strong and they didn’t back down…and a new generation of community leaders was born.


Student Testimonies

On Wednesday, December 9th, 2009, more than 200 people packed the school board in the wake of racial assaults on Asian immigrant students at South Philadelphia High School. Dozens of students from South Philadelphia High, who had been boycotting the school, along with their adult allies, addressed the SRC about their experiences and demanded immediate action and a full investigation by the District. Read their testimonies »


PUBLIC STATEMENT from the Students

December 15, 2009

Through our trials and struggles, we pushed the school to hear us. We made change by standing together. We are proud of what we have done. If something happens again after all this, we know that we have strong wills and we will stand together again.

We have came back to stand with more students. We want to start a dialogue with other student organizations. We will continue to work with the community organizations. The struggle will go on until all the demands are met. We won’t give up. We ask everyone to continue to pay attention to what’s going on at South Philadelphia High School. We hope that school can change their attitude for the benefits of all students. We thank our supporters. Without the support of everyone we could not go this far. We are excited for the future.

We want a safe school for everyone. We want everyone to have a good education. This is not the end, but just the beginning of the fight for better futures and better educations for all races of students.

— Students of the South Philly High boycott —