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K12NN: Tony Diaz (Librotraficante) & 9th Circuit Ct on Mexican American Studies

  • Broadcast in Politics Progressive
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If you can't banish people outright, then you can try to erase them from students' minds. That's exactly what happened in Tucson Unified School District in Arizona, when conservatives ipassed an anti-immigrant racial profiling law, SB1070 that in effect targeted Latinos. At the same time, right-wing activists succeeded in passing a law banning the teeaching of Mexican American Studies, saying that a highly successful TUSD program that taught Chicano/Latiino history and culture to all students in the largely Hispanic district was instead harmful and divisive. The law, HB 2281, bans instruction that encourages "ethnic solidarity" among other things. Mind you, to begin with the ethnic studies courses were part of a federal court order to address historic and systemic racism in Arizona's education system.

The outrage over free speech rights of teachers and students is what prompted writer and teacher Tony Diaz to "smuggle" books by Latino authors out of his home state of Texas and into Arizona. He has been reporting on and organizing the efforts of free speech activists, ethnic studies activists, and students and teachers fighting for a relevant curriculum ever since.

TUSD high school student Maya Arce is a plaintiff who filed in the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals to overtun this Arizona law on grounds that it's unconstitutional. On January 12, 2015, she will testify and urge the Ninth Circuit to protect her First Amendment rights and the rights of other Arizona students and overturn this ignorant, bigoted, and narrow-minded law.

Background, go here.

More on Tony Diaz here and Librotraficante here.

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