Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Recognizing Cesar Chavez, the UFW, and Strategic Racism


By Duane E. Campbell
Cesar Chavez
Once social change begins, it cannot be reversed.  You cannot un-educate the person who has learned to read.  You cannot humiliate the person who feels pride. You cannot oppress the people who are not afraid anymore.  Cesar Chávez.  November 9, 1984.

On March 31, 2015,  Eleven  states  and numerous cities will hold holidays celebrating  labor and Latino Leader Cesar Chavez. Conferences, marches and celebrations will occur in numerous cities this weekend.  See the prior post on the UCD conference. A recent film Cesar Chavez: An American Hero, starring Michael Peña  as Cesar Chavez and Rosario Dawson  as Dolores Huerta presents important parts of this story and shows how Chavez was lied about and attacked by Ronald Reagan, the Nixon Administration, the Republican Party and numerous right wing forces.
Meanwhile,  in March of 2015  hundreds of farmworkers have walked off their jobs in Baja California, Mexico, from the agricultural fields just a few miles from the U.S. border , fields developed to provide a harvest to the U.S. markets.  Farm labor strikes and violence against strikers remains a volatile issue.  Farm workers deserve dignity, respect, and fair wages.  Achieving these goals will require a union. http://www.latimes.com/local/california/la-me-baja-farmworkers-20150325-story.html

The  current UFW leadership, as well as former UFW leaders  and current DSA Honorary Chairs  Eliseo Medina and Dolores Huerta  are recognized leaders in the ongoing efforts to achieve comprehensive immigration reform in the nation.
 On immigration, UFW President Arturo Rodriquez says, “We urge Republicans to abandon their political games that hurt millions of hard-working, taxpaying immigrants and their families, and help us finish the job by passing legislation such as the comprehensive reform bill that was approved by the Senate on a bipartisan vote in June 2013,”

Sunday, March 22, 2015

Support Ethnic Studies



Thank you!  In 24 hours over 100 people sent emails in support of AB 101. Can we reach 200? If you haven't sent an email yet it's super easy, just click on the orange button below. This Wednesday the Ethnic Studies bill will go before the Assembly Education Committee -- and they need to hear from you as soon as possible:

click_button_to_email_assemblymembers_on_AB101.png

Please click on the button above, add your name at the bottom of the email, and send. 

Friday, March 20, 2015

Scholars, teachers, activists, join in our campaign to include Chicano history !

NEW- scholars, teachers, allies, activists have joined  in our campaign to improve the history textbooks in California by including the histories of  Mexican American/ Chicano people.  More than 52% of California students are descendants of Latino and Mexican people. Why can't they be found in the textbooks.
You are invited to participate. We need each of  you and your friends to write a letter.  Here is a guide. Here is how to write a letter and to send it. https://sites.google.com/site/democracyandeducationorg/Home/latino-students-and-civic-engagement/project-plan---mexican-american-history




By Duane Campbell
Mexican American/Chicano history is substantially absent from public school textbooks and curriculum in California- and it has been since  1986.  This year we have an opportunity to change that. 
California has the largest student  population of any state, with more than 6,236,000 students  in school in 2013.  Students who are Mexican American of Latino heritage make up over 53% of the total school population. 
Latino student political non participation  and disconnectedness is significantly caused by Latino absence from the K-12 textbooks and curriculum. 
Children and young adults need to see themselves in the curriculum.  Students, have low levels of attachment to California and U.S.  civics engagement in significant part because the government institution they encounter the most- the schools-  ignore the students’ own history, cultures and experiences.

California state textbooks currently largely ignore the roles of Mexican Americans and Latinos in building this state.  Students need to learn civic engagement – it is not automatic.  Students need to learn that they belong , that they are a part of the community and its history.

California schools and history teachers should lead the way in preparing  young people for civic life in our  pluralist society.   They  are not. Incomplete and inaccurate history, along with incomplete and inaccurate economics harms not only Latinos and Asians, but the Anglo students as well.  When Anglo students  are taught an inaccurate view of Latino /Mexicano history in the state, they fail to accurately understand the major demographic shift presently occurring  and this lack of knowledge   contributes  to fear, misunderstanding  and conflict such as that promoted in the current anti immigrant campaigns. 
We can change this.   The content of the k-12 textbooks and the curriculum is directed by a state document- the History/Social Science Framework for California’s public schools.  The current 1987 framework is outdated. State law requires that the frameworks be updated each 7 years.  There was no significant change from 1987 until 2009.  ( In 2001 the publishers added a photo of Cesar Chavez.)

Tuesday, March 17, 2015

On St. Patrick's Day- The Real Irish American Story

The Great Hunger 
Bill Bigelow. The Zinn Education Project
“Wear green on St. Patrick’s Day or get pinched.” That pretty much sums up the Irish-American “curriculum” that I learned when I was in school. Yes, I recall a nod to the so-called Potato Famine, but it was mentioned only in passing.
Sadly, today’s high school textbooks continue to largely ignore the famine, despite the fact that it was responsible for unimaginable suffering and the deaths of more than a million Irish peasants, and that it triggered the greatest wave of Irish immigration in U.S. history. Nor do textbooks make any attempt to help students link famines past and present.
Yet there is no shortage of material that can bring these dramatic events to life in the classroom. In my own high school social studies classes, I begin with Sinead O’Connor’s haunting rendition of “Skibbereen,” which includes the verse:
… Oh it’s well I do remember, that bleak
December day,
The landlord and the sheriff came, to drive
Us all away
They set my roof on fire, with their cursed
English spleen
And that’s another reason why I left old
Skibbereen.
By contrast, Holt McDougal’s U.S. history textbook The Americans, devotes a flat two sentences to “The Great Potato Famine.” Prentice Hall’s America: Pathways to the Present fails to offer a single quote from the time. The text calls the famine a “horrible disaster,” as if it were a natural calamity like an earthquake. And in an awful single paragraph, Houghton Mifflin’s The Enduring Vision: A History of the American People blames the “ravages of famine” simply on “a blight,” and the only contemporaneous quote comes, inappropriately, from a landlord, who describes the surviving tenants as “famished and ghastly skeletons.” Uniformly, social studies textbooks fail to allow the Irish to speak for themselves, to narrate their own horror.