Dear NYCoRE Members,
As we wrap up our month-long campaign, No History Is Illegal, we can count more than 11,500 people who visited the campaign website, and nearly 1,500 people across five continents who pledged their support. These include many amazing stories of solidarity, such as:
At Roosevelt High School in LA, students painted a mural depicting UNIDOS students fighting for ethnic studies.
At Yale University, Mexican American Studies students organized a Skype Teach-In.
And, at Knox College in Illinois, students in a Historian’s Workshop opened their class discussion on these issues to invited guests—friends, prospective teachers, and professors—and ended by writing letters to students and teachers in Tucson.
Support for Tucson teachers and students continues to grow. Most recently, the American Educational Research Association (AERA) released a statement on the suspension of Mexican American Studies in Tucson, “…the AERA Council emphasizes the substantial body of research that reveals that such courses improve critical thinking and reduce stereotyping and bias among students. Characterizing the legislation as educationally indefensible, AERA urges the Arizona State Legislature to repeal HB2281.”
Rethinking Schools posted a preview of their Spring editorial, which acknowledges the ridiculousness of banned books but focuses on the heart of the issue, saying, “Many commentators focused on the outrageous act of banning books. But the books were merely collateral damage. The real target was Tucson’s acclaimed Mexican American Studies program, whose elimination had long been a goal of rightwing politicians in Arizona.”
Of course, the struggle does not end with the month of February. If you are looking for ways to stay with the campaign and support the teachers and students in Tucson, consider organizing a screening of Precious Knowledge in your community. And watch the premiere of Precious Knowledge on PBS May 17.
You can also join or support Librotraficantes, the caravan to smuggle banned books into Tucson. This group will be traveling from Houston, Texas to Tucson March 12 to 18 carrying ‘contraband’ books and creating a network of underground libraries.
The blog Banning History is collecting video testimony of people reading passages from the banned books.
We continue to encourage you to tell the story of how you shared the struggle of Tucson in your classroom by writing a testimonial on the No History Is Illegal website. You can also directly support the teachers in Tucson by making a donation to the Save Ethnic Studies legal defense fund.
Thank you for being part of this amazing act of solidarity.
Teacher Activist Groups
(Association of Raza Educators, Education for Liberation Network, Educators’ Network for Social Justice, Metro Atlantans for Public Schools, New York Collective of Radical Educators, Rethinking Schools, Teacher Action Group Philadelphia, Teacher Activist Group Boston, Teachers 4 Social Justice San Francisco, Teachers for Social Justice Chicago)