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Thursday, February 12, 2015

Indigenous Knowledge on Trial: Defending and Defining Mexican-American Studies


Thursday, 12 February 2015 00:00By Roberto Rodriguez, Truthout | Op-Ed
The legal fight over Mexican-American studies in Tucson, Arizona, schools is a culture war, waged by proponents of education rooted in Greco-Roman values and Western civilization against supporters of ethnic studies and MAS, which is anchored by an Indigenous-maíz-based ethos.
By all rights, the plaintiffs in the Mexican-American studies (MAS) trial, known asArce v. Huppenthal, argued on January 12, should prevail. This trumped-up controversy belongs more in the 15th century, before an inquisition, as opposed to theNinth Circuit Court of Appeals.

This case stems from a 2010 lawsuit, challenging the constitutionality of the anti-ethnic studies HB 2281, which was signed in 2010 by former Arizona governor, Jan Brewer. Under the threat of losing millions of dollars in state funding, the Tucson Unified School District (TUSD) capitulated to the state and eliminated the highly successful MAS department in 2012.

Their school of thought believes that the right of peoples to their culture, history, identity, language and education is not subject to approval by any court, nor any government body.

While a decision should come within weeks, MAS supporters across the country are not waiting; the battle to expand ethnic studies is intensifying. Though the truth is, this battle has actually been a war, waged since 2006 by the state of Arizona. The former state schools' superintendent, Tom Horne, who was also the "intellectual" author of HB 2281, has led that war, asserting often that he could care less if MAS, which is anchored in an Indigenous-maíz-based ethos, was successful or not. The only thing he was interested in, he said, was ensuring that Arizona students were learning Greco-Roman values, as opposed to knowledge "outside of Western civilization."

Wednesday, February 4, 2015

"Not Counting Mexicans or Indians": The Many Tentacles of State Violence Against Black-Brown-Indigenous Communities


"They tried to bury us, but they didn't know we were seeds." - Popul Vuh


VIOLENCE AGAINST BLACK/BROWN-INDIGENOUS COMMUNITIES: Normally, I don't add a commentary to what  I write, but I feel a need to here. What I wrote is part of a 65-page article/chapter about violence against Black-Brown-Indigenous Peoples, literally tracing this systemic and epidemic violence to 1492. Here it is condensed, and the opening is a little different from what I originally wrote. In the original, all the deaths from the past few months are at the top. Also, here, I am attaching the photo alluded to at the beginning. 

PLEASE POST/FORWARD AND SHARE THIS FAR AND WIDE, ETC.


Between my eyes, I bear a scar in the shape of a "T" that I received on March 23, 1979, on the streets of East Los Angeles. It functions as a reminder that my skull was cracked, but more importantly, that I did not remain silent and that I won two police violence trials, for witnessing and photographing the brutal beating of a young man by perhaps a dozen sheriff's deputies.


These events are seared into my memory because of how I remember them. After coming back to consciousness, amid violent threats, I was handcuffed and left facedown on the cold street, bleeding profusely from my forehead. While in shock and unable to even lift my head, in my own pool of blood, amid flashing red and blue lights everywhere, I could see many dozens of officers giving chase and arresting everyone in sight. What I also witnessed in the reflection of my own blood was everything that I will relay here. For this lengthy article regarding violence against the Black-Brown-Indigenous communities, please go to:


http://truth-out.org/news/item/28921-not-counting-mexicans-or-indians-the-many-tentacles-of-state-violence-against-black-brown-indigenous-communities


 and please post/share/forward, etc.


Sunday, January 18, 2015

MAS COURT MATERIALS



FORGOT TO POST THIS... A GREAT READ RE THE ARCE V HUPPENTHAL ANTI-ETHNIC STUDIES TRIAL:

If you haven't seen them, here are the materials submitted in the 9th circuit case regarding Arizona's ban on Ethnic Studies (HB 2281: regardless of what the courts say, many of us will never recognize this immoral state measure as a "law.") https://turtletalk.wordpress.com/…/ninth-circuit-materials…/

Wednesday, January 14, 2015

Raza Studies at the 9th Circuit


Just finished listening to the arguments before the 9th Circuit re Raza Studies.. it is surreal that a program/discipline could be on trial... more on this shortly: http://www.ca9.uscourts.gov/media/view.php?pk_id=0000013827

Friday, January 2, 2015

ARIZONA MOVES AGAINST RAZA AND AFRICAN AMERICAN KNOWLEDGE



BREAKING NEWS!!! THIS IS BEYOND OUTRAGEOUS!!! THESE ARE HUPPENTHAL'S LAST DAYS IN OFFICE AND WANTS TO GO OUT WITH A BANG! ANOTHER ATTACK AGAINST RAZA AND AFRICAN AMERICAN STUDENTS IN TUCSON. PLEASE SHARE/FORWARD/TWEET/ AND STAY TUNED. THIS IS AN ESCALATION AS DURING THE ASSAULT ON ETHNIC STUDIES, THEY HAD LEFT ALONE AFRICAN AMERICAN STUDIES. NOT ANYMORE!

Arizona Department of Education
Office of Superintendent of Public Instruction John Huppenthal
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Contact: Sally Stewart
602-542-5072
Sally.Stewart@azed.gov
SUPERINTENDENT HUPPENTHAL FINDS
TUCSON UNIFIED SCHOOL DISTRICT NONCOMPLIANT
PHOENIX, Ariz., Jan. 2, 2015 – The Arizona Department of Education (ADE) today sent a notice of noncompliance to the Tucson Unified School District stating that one or more of its classes are in violation of A.R.S. §15-112. If the District is not in compliance with A.R.S. § 15-112 by March 4, 2015, ADE will determine whether to withhold 10 percent of the monthly apportionment of state aid that would otherwise be due to the district until the violations are corrected.

Superintendent of Public Instruction John Huppenthal released the following statement today on his finding that the Tucson Unified School District (TUSD) is in violation of A.R.S. § 15-112:
“During my tenure as Superintendent, I have been closely monitoring the status of the Tucson Unified School District’s culturally relevant curricula to ensure that all TUSD students, regardless of their race or ethnic background, have access to a high quality education.
“After a thorough review of materials from TUSD’s culturally relevant courses, I find that the district has failed to meet several provisions of the 2012 Settlement Agreement settlement and is once again in clear violation of A.R.S. §15-112. Furthermore, I am deeply concerned by the fact that the noncompliance appears to extend beyond classes taught from the Mexican American perspective and now also includes classes taught from the African American perspective.
“ADE staff has worked tirelessly to provide guidance and feedback as quickly as possible throughout the process so that district officials would have the resources needed to keep all culturally relevant courses in compliance with the law. This process has been made challenging by the fact that the district has failed to fully respond to several requests for information and has been inconsistent in its application of materials that have been provided.
“In issuing this finding before classes resume, I am hopeful that the district will take immediate action to comply with the law.”

Saturday, November 15, 2014

THE 7,000-YEAR STORY OF MAIZ ON TORTILLAS:


THE 7,000-YEAR STORY OF MAIZ ON TORTILLAS: A year ago, Acapulco Tortillas in East LA, placed the story of maiz (that I wrote) on its tortillas. It is in 3 languages. Everytime I return to LA, I pick some up. They put the story on their Habanero and Spinach tortillas... the original idea was to put them on their corn tortillas. Still may happen, though now, looking at possibility of putting the front cover of my book (by Laura V. Rodriguez) on the front of their [special edition] tortillas. Truthfully, the cover belongs on an Indigenous/organic tortilla. May happen. Will keep everyone posted. The Nahuatl translation is from Paula Paola Domingo. The story: "Corn: It is who we are. It is where we come from and what we are made of. It is our sacred sustenance. It forms part of our ancient memory that goes back 7,000 years to this very continent. It is what connects us to our Mother Earth." Please let me know if you would like to see this happen. There's a cost involved and may have to raise it. Was thinking this should be done for May(May 3) when el dia del maiz was/is traditionally celebrated. (The Catholic changed May 3 to Dia de la Santa Cruz).