Saturday, September 17, 2016

California Students and Teachers Win Major Ethnic Studies Fight | News | teleSUR English

California Students and Teachers Win Major Ethnic Studies Fight | News | teleSUR English:

California Students and Teachers Win Major Ethnic Studies Fight

The new bill marks a huge achievement for educators across the country fighting for the inclusion of Latino, Black, Native and Asian communities.

The state of California approved on Thursday an Ethnic Studies Bill that mandates the creation of an ethnic studies course in every school, and local educators expect it to expand nationwide, a major victory for activists and a blow to right-wing racists.
The courses will focus on the historic contributions and struggles of Latinos, Blacks and Asians, as well as other minorities in the U.S., as well as literature, history and social justice​. Topic could include everything from social movements to labor struggles involving the state's historic reliance on agricultural laborers drawn from Asia and Mexico, the racist past of large California communities, ethnic portrayals in Hollywood films and Native American literature.
In California, some of the key figures likely to be studied under the new curriculum could include labor organizers such as Luisa Morena, Cesar Chavez, Larry Itliong, and others, and their collective struggle for economic equality for oppressed groups within the U.S.​
Other subjects could include the genocide of Indigenous nations such as the Chumash and Shasta tribes, Los Angeles' long-forgotten 1871 massacre of 17-20 Chinese immigrants by a white mob, segregation in large cities such as San Francisco and Los Angeles, the internment of Japanese-Americans in such infamous concentration camps as Manzanar, the simmering tensions in police-community relations that led to the Watts Rebellion of 1965 and the 1992 L.A. Riots, the Ku Klux Klan's historic reign in Anaheim, the 1970 Chicano Moratorium anti-war march, student-led walkouts against anti-immigrant legislation in 1994, and myriad other watershed moments in the state's highly-racialized history.
Various books on the tumultuous history of oppressed nationalities in the U.S. could land on students' desks under the new program | Photo: teleSUR
Sean Arce, former head of the Mexican American Studies program in Tucson, Arizona, said that to date the study of minorities' contributions has been lacking in U.S. schools.
Arce moved to California after speaking out against Arizona's law banning Mexican-American studies at schools passed in 2010. Prior to leaving Arizona, Arce took part in forums and discussions across the California, inspiring students and educators to organize and launch a similar struggle.
“For too long schools have marginalized these communities,” Arce told teleSUR. “Schools served as reproduction sites of inequalities.”
The PBS documentary "Precious Knowledge" (2012) featured a similar student-led fight for ethnic representation in Arizona's schools.
Grassroots formations such as the Ethnic Studies Now Coalition in Los Angeles and Union del Barrio, a grassroots Mexican-Chicano socialist organization, have been in constant battle with education authorities, demanding they offer California Students and Teachers Win Major Ethnic Studies Fight | News | teleSUR English:

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