This call for support is from the teachers and students of the Mexican American Studies Department in Tucson, Arizona.
Dear Friends and Supporters,
It has been quite a year, as you all know. We have faced the destruction of our Mexican lAmerican Studies program and the banning of Chican@/Latin@ literature and history from our students, and multicultural books and voices ranging from Sherman Alexie to William Shakespeare. We have confronted the indignity of state and district monitoring of our compliance of an unjust and racially motivated law that led to a state takeover of our classes. Yet, we will not submit to the oppressive agenda of Phoenix politcos, nor the compromising and weak willed agenda of Tucson Unified School District superintendent John Pedicone and school board members Mark Stegeman and Michael Hicks. The latter name you may remember from his infamous appearance on The Daily Show where the right wing hate, paranoia and faith in hearsay, as a legitimate form of decision making, was exposed to the nation. We have seen the firing of a great educational leader, Sean Arce, as the director of Mexican American Studies, a loss which will cause immeasurable damage for our youth in Tucson. And finally, we have even seen the recruitment of former allies to the side of the superintendent, and have been devastated to witness these same friends develop a mullticultural education program on the grave of Mexican American Studies.
However, we will not be deterred. This message is a call for any and all supporters to come to Tucson in July for Freedom Summer 2012. The attached documents will reveal the details, but suffice it to say that we are more energized now than ever to win justice, equal education, and liberation for our youth and community in Tucson. Please distribute the following call to action (Freedom Summer Release and Call) widely, and I hope to hear from you. Without the Education for Liberation Network, Teachers Activist Groups, and the “ryders” throughout the nation we would have suffered even greater. Thank you all.
Lastly, here are a few links to articles that shed further light on the situation in Tucson and are fantastic reads for understanding the national and local dynamics of the Mexican American Studies struggle in Arizona.
Bill Bigelow of Rethinking Schools wrote the following piece “Repressive Book-Banning from Johannesburg to Tucson: http://www.commondreams.org/view/2012/06/12-3
A MUST read update from the Tucson Weekly by Mari Herreras about a close colleague of ours “crossing the picket line”: http://www.tucsonweekly.com/tucson/a-community-divided/Content?oid=3349554
Jeff Biggers on Arizona Attorney General Tom Horne’s continued fallacies about MAS and Ethnic Studies in Tucson: http://blogs.alternet.org/speakeasy/2012/06/12/freedom-summer-in-tucson-az-attorney-generals-chance-to-learn-about-civil-rights/
In solidarity and In Lak Ech,
Chican@/Latin@ Literature Teacher
Tucson High Magnet School