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
This Spring we have a unique opportunity to change the history books in California K-12 to include Chicano/Mexican American history- but we must act before May 1. This is the time to get that letter written and e mailed asking that Mexican American history be included in the re write of the History/Social Science Framework for California Schools.
Mexican American/ Chicano history is currently substantially absent from public school textbooks and curriculum in California- and it has been since 1986. Latino student political non participation and alienation from school is significantly caused by Latino absence from the K-12 textbooks and curriculum.
Now is a good time to get this done (a guide to writing such a letter is here )
This effort is not the same as the AB 101 campaign for Ethnic Studies where many have signed an on line petition.
Our project to change the History Framework is described here.
Tell the committee; I strongly urge you to revise the current draft of the History Framework to include a more adequate recording of the history of California and the nation by including the significant contributions of Mexicans and Mexican Americans to this history. You really don’t have an accurate history without extending more information on this topic. Latinos comprise nearly 39% of the state population, and descendants of Mexican Americans and Latinos now constitute over 52% of the students in the k-12 schools.
I have read the draft framework and I propose the following additions:
On page 351, Line 2014, amend this to include additional material on the 1960’s,
Sample letters are below.
We ask you to
1. Look over the draft History/Social Science Framework for California Schools.
(or take our suggestions and guides to specific pages)
2. If you have not already done so, let us know that you intend to write a letter.
3 Write a letter to the Framework Committee encouraging the inclusion of Mexican American/Latino history in the revised framework. It is most effective to make specific recommendations of material to include- see samples. To be effective your letter should arrive by May 1, 2015.
4 Send your letter to firstname.lastname@example.org
5. Send a copy to the Mexican American Digital History project at email@example.com
6. Links to documents and background information is available in the enclosure.
To date there have been some 340 letters to the committee asking for more coverage of LGTBQ issues, and 5 letters asking for amendments to include more Mexican American/ Chicano history.
WE want to assist you in getting this letter written and mailed. In addition to an enclosure on how to write a letter, we are providing you with two sample letters from Chicano historians and one from our project. You can use any of the information in the samples to write your own letters. We recommend that you begin with a direct request to amend the draft and include a sentence or two of personal commentary on why you think this is important. – see examples.
We share our thanks to Dr. Lorena Márquez and Dr. Carlos Muñoz for their assistance in writing draft letters.
Sample letter 1.
From: Lorena V. Márquez, Lecturer, Department of Chicana/o Studies at UCD
To: History Social Science Framework committee firstname.lastname@example.org
RE: Recommendation for amendments:
I strongly urge you to revise the current draft of the History/Social Science Framework to include a more adequate recording of the history of California and the nation by including the significant contributions of Mexicans and Mexican Americans to this history. You really can’t have a fair and balanced history without including more information on this topic. Latinos comprise nearly 39% of the state population, and descendants of Mexican Americans and Latinos now constitute over 52% of the students in our schools. These students deserve to learn their own history.
I recommend extension of the description of the Chicano movement to more adequately address this issue. Recommended additions: Line 1959. Page 348.
The Chicano Movement emerged as an instance in the historical trajectory of Mexican American political activism. Like its immediate antecedent, the Black Power Movement, it was constructed in opposition to the pacifist and integrationist rhetoric of the Civil Rights Movement of the 1940s and 1950s. By the mid-1960s Chicano youth challenged the old, integrationist orientations of their predecessors. The Chicano Movement, however, was not a unified entity. It was multi-stranded and broadly diverse, with many internal fissures and local correlations. In its idealized form, the Chicano Movement, hoped to link people through goals, culture, and perceived notions of community. Chicanos across the Southwest and beyond, demanded change to their subordinate standing in the U.S. They argued, that like African Americans, they had suffered discrimination and systematic oppression. Today, it remains unmatched in its ability to reach an ethnic population across a vast geographic region.
The Chicano Movement began in 1965 in Delano, California when Dolores Huerta and Cesar E. Chávez, founders of the National Farm Workers Association (later it became the United Farm Workers union), led a national boycott against table grape growers in the region because they failed to recognize their collective bargaining rights. Chávez, the president of the farm workers union, and the farm worker struggle, became the face of Chicano protest and struggles. While the United Farm Workers union brought national and even international recognition to the plight of Chicanos for labor rights, it had overarching consequences. Many young Chicanas and Chicanos felt connected to the farm worker struggle even though the majority resided in urban areas and had never themselves worked in the California agricultural industry.
An entire generation of mostly young Chicanas and Chicanos identified as an oppressed racial group and unlike their predecessors saw themselves as an “ethnic minority,” like African Americans. Although they were legally “white,” Mexican Americans had been subjected to generations of institutional and social discrimination and racism. They self-identified as Chicanas/os and claimed to be brown, not white. Copying from the African American slogans, they espoused “Brown is Beautiful!” This new generation wanted to know why, despite the wealth and power of the U.S., there was so much poverty, inequality, racism, and sexism? By 1968, the Chicano Movement had evolved from the countryside to the cities.
The first to demonstrate in mass were Chicana and Chicano high school students who walked out of their schools in protest of poor and inadequate educational conditions. On March 1, 1968, students from Wilson, Lincoln, Garfield, Belmont, and Roosevelt High Schools in East Los Angeles walked out of their high school as they grew frustrated with the administration’s inability to understand their cultural and educational needs. These were largely segregated Mexican high schools and had been neglected by the Los Angeles Unified School District (LAUSD) for some time. By week’s end, 10,000 high school and even middle school students had joined the Walkouts. The students outlined a list of 36 demands which they presented to the LAUSD Board of Directors. Some of these demands included: the hiring of Chicana/o teachers and administrators, formation of Chicano Studies courses, culturally sensitive teachers, and bilingual education. Unfortunately, these students were met by a brutal police backlash. When the parents of these students saw that the Los Angeles Police Department began beating and arresting peaceful demonstrators it spurred them to action and they began to add pressure to the LAUSD as well. Up until this point, few young Chicanas/os had engaged in this type of demonstration. They believed in change and hoped for a better tomorrow for those themselves and those that followed.
Sample letter 2.
History /Social Science Framework Committee
Re: Inclusion of Mexican American/ Latino history in draft Framework
I am a professor (emeritus) of Education at CSU Sacramento. For thirty-five years I prepared new teachers for California schools. One of my particular emphasis was preparing future teachers to teach about history and social studies. You can find a record of this in my most recent book, Choosing Democracy: a practical guide to multicultural education. Allyn and Bacon (4th edit. 2010)
I strongly urge you to revise the current draft of the History Framework to include a more adequate recording of the history of California and the nation by including the significant contributions of Mexicans and Mexican Americans to this history. You really can’t have a fair and balanced history without extending more information on this topic. Latinos comprise nearly 39% of the state population, and descendants of Mexican Americans and Latinos now constitute over 52% of the students in our schools.
As I have argued in my writings, and in testimony to the drafting committee during the 2009 attempt to revise the framework, children and young adults need to see themselves in the curriculum. Students, particularly students of color, have low levels of attachment to California and U.S. civics messages in significant part because the government institution they encounter the most- the schools- too often ignore the students own history, cultures and experiences.
A fundamental way to engage students in civic culture is to engage them in their own schools and communities. That is where the students most encounter civic opportunities.
The 1987/2001 California History Social Science Framework still in use today to guide the selection of California textbooks expanded African American, Native American, and women’s history coverage but remains totally inadequate in the coverage of Latinos and Asians. When the 52% % of students who are Latino , and the 9 % who are Asian do not see themselves as part of history, for many their sense of self is marginalized. Marginalization negatively impacts their connections with school and their success at school. It contributes to an up to the high drop out rate for Latinos and some Asian students. A more accurate, more complete history would provide some students with a a sense of self, of direction, of purpose, even a sense that they should stay in school and learn more. History and social science classes should help young people acquire and learn to use the civics skills, knowledge, and attitudes that will prepare them to be competent and responsible citizens throughout their lives.
I have read the draft document and I propose the following additions:
On page 351, Line 2014, amend this to include additional material on the 1990’s and the current era such as:
From 1994 on, political campaigns initiated in California pursued a series of anti immigrant propositions, laws and regulations ( California Prop. 187, 227). While all but one of the provisions of Proposition 187 were blocked by the federal courts as unconstitutional, the campaigns led to the 1996 Immigration Reform Act by the U.S. Congress mandating severe benefit cuts and increased border enforcement.
From 2003 political controversy over immigration became national issues along with the issues of low quality public schools and lack of employment opportunities. The rapidly growing Latino community became increasingly politically active, increasing their voter registration and participation. This changed the political make up and partisan divisions first in the California legislature and then in the federal congress. Latinos became the largest ethnic group in California in 2010, a plurality of all residents, and Latino children constituted more than 51% of all public school students.
I propose that you include this in a revised framework. Thank you for your consideration.
Dr. Duane E. Campbell
Director Mexican American Digital History Project.
Democracy and Education Institute
Sample letter 3.
To: History/Social Science Committee.
re: Need for Latino history included in the draft Framework for History/Social Science.
On page 345 I propose this addition.
For example, a massive high school student strike in 1968 against racism in the barrio schools of East Los Angeles, California, ignited the emergence of the Chicano Civil Rights Movement throughout the Southwest. Thirteen Chicano civil rights activists were indicted for conspiracy to organize those student strikes and faced 66 years in prison. The charges were dropped 2 years later based on the 1st amendment to the U.S. Constitution. The book "Racism on Trial: The Chicano Fight for Justice" by Ian F. Haney Lopez is a study of that trial. In 1969, the Crusade for Justice in Denver, Colorado, hosted the "Chicano Liberation Youth Conference" that issued a radical manifesto, "El Plan de Azlan", that called for the decolonization of the Mexican American people from the values of the dominant white culture and promote indigenous culture as the corner stone of Chicano and Chicana identity .The same year another conference of largely student activists held in Santa Barbara, California, issued a document, "El Plan de Santa Barbara", calling for the establishment of Chicano Studies at colleges and universities in California. In 1970, another high school strike in Crystal City, Texas, gave gave birth to the independent Chicano La Raza Unida Party to challenge the dominant Republican and Democratic parties throughout the United States. "Youth, Identity, Power: The Chicano Movement" by Carlos Muñoz, Jr. is a history of the Chicano Movement.
Thank you for your consideration.
Dr. Carlos Muñoz, Jr.
Send via e mail to email@example.com.
Urgent. All letters must arrive prior to May 1,2015.
If you need assistance in preparing your letter, please contact Duane Campbell at firstname.lastname@example.org
Thank you for the work that you do.
Mexican American Digital History project