A statement from the Raza Press and Media Association on the resent banning of number of important works by indigenous North American authors (both Chicano and Indian) by the white power government of Arizona. The RPMA is associated with the indigenous-Chiaco revolutionary nationalist organization Unión del Barrio.
Last week the Tucson Board of Education capitulated to the Superintendent of Education John Huppenthal of Arizona, in an attempt to erase, censor and alter the content and character of Tucson’s educational curriculum.
By dismantling Chicano/a Studies and banning books such Occupied America, by Rodolfo Acuña, Rethinking Columbus: The Next 500 Years, by Rethinking Schools, and Pedagogy of the Oppressed by Paulo Freire, among other books, the Tucson School Board stood on the side of apartheid white rule over the needs and interests of the majority Raza/Indigenous people of that city and of that state.
With one notable exception, the Tucson School Board voted 4‐1 in favor of pulling over 50 titles from the classroom –putting ignorance above critical thinking.
For more than 20 years the Chicano Studies curriculum taught through the Mexican American and Ethnic studies courses were successful in providing a sense of historical understanding to the present day oppression of Raza/indigenous majority of Arizona. This program was one the few set of courses in the whole of the United States that were successful in enabling students to graduate from High School and attend colleges and universities.
So it is no surprise that in the age of increased hostility towards Raza/Indigenous people‐ the racist settler governor, Jan Brewer, signed into law HB2281 in May of 2010. HB2281 was written with the explicit objective of prohibiting “ethnic solidarity” and class‐consciousness –important elements towards building unity among oppressed peoples to effect social justice.
This is why apartheid white rule has openly attacked ethnic solidarity and class‐consciousness; it wants to maintain its political power by utilizing ignorance and lies to alter history.
After more than one year of legal challenges to HB2281, the courts of Arizona in December of 2011 allowed the State Superintendent of Public Instruction to eliminate the Mexican American and Ethnic Studies programs by defunding school districts that teach these areas of study. This act clearly demonstrates that there is no democracy within the current political, judicial and educational system in the United States.
It is clear to us that these attempts to censor and silence the voices of truth and justice, are from those forces who are scared and shaking in their boots of the possibility of oppressed people learning the truth about ourselves and our ability to become subjects of our own liberation. Our task as Raza journalists is to expose the nature of the rotten colonial school system. This is why we must step up our efforts to expose the lies, defamation and dehumanizing conditions imposed on our communities by settler institutions of white power (courts, legislators, and schools).
As an organization who for more 20 years has been struggling for real free speech and raising the critical consciousness of all oppressed people, the Raza Press and Media Association stands in solidarity with the educators, students and parents of Tucson and throughout Arizona, in their struggle to defend the right to learn about our history, social and economic justice, and the right to self‐determination.
We end this brief statement by encouraging all who are in unity with building a movement for a real liberating education to attend the 6th Annual Association of Raza Educators (ARE) Conference, entitled: ¡Aqui Estamos, Educamos, Transformamos y No Nos Vamos!, to be held on April 14th, 2011, at Lincoln High School in San Diego, CA.
¡Que Viva la Raza!
¡Que Viva Chicano/Raza Studies!