Last week, the Tucson school board outraged the nation when they cancelled the district's high-school Mexican American Studies program and forcibly banned a series of books dealing with race. The reason? Apparently, teaching respect for other cultures amounts to "racial hatred" and is in violation of Arizona's statewide ban against ethnic studies, which was passed in conjunction with SB1070.
Since the news broke, the school board has been catching heat and there is a chance they'll allow the books back in the classroom, but they need to know the whole country is watching.
Latinos in Tucson make up more than half of the student population, and they are fighting back alongside educators and parents. Can you sign this petition to Superintendent John Pedicone and the school board to reverse the decision to ban the books and reinstate the Mexican American Studies program?
Arizona has been ground zero for attacks against immigrant and Latino families, creating a hateful environment where it's acceptable to attack Latino youth in a place where they need affirmation—their classrooms.
As the daughter of immigrants, one of the most empowering moments of my life was learning about Latino history in school. I learned about our contributions to this country and it instilled in me pride in my family and our collective history as Latinos and Latinas in the U.S.
Tucson's Mexican American Studies program gave Latino students the same sense of dignity and connection to their own history, and other students were offered an insight to a community that is a huge part of the local culture but all too often demonized.
Students in Arizona are fighting to keep these programs in spite of the wave of anti-immigrant hysteria in the state, and now they need our help in keeping up the fight.
Can you sign this petition to Tucson Superintendent John Pedicone and the school board to reverse the decision and reinstate the Mexican American Studies program?
Thanks and ¡adelante!
Laurie, on behalf of the Presente.org team
Tucson students confront loss of their Chicano studies class, L.A. Times, 1/11/12
Tucson says banished books may return to classrooms, Salon.com, 1/18/12
Save Ethnic Studies in Arizona, Facebook Page