The core focus, mission, and practice of the education for liberation network is that through education, we can liberate ourselves from knowledge systems that erase and suppress for the purpose of domination.
As many know, the fight for ethnic studies has been a crucial expression of education for liberation. With its start in the 1960s on college campuses, ethnic studies is now a well-developed and integrated curricular and pedagogical endeavor in dozens of districts and states.
Predictably, though, this work to reconnect learning to the cultures of marginalized students brought backlash from the dominant culture. For the past six years, former and current students and teachers of Ethnic studies in Arizona have been battling in court systems and continuing the work of ethnic studies without the sanction of schools or district offices.
So, it is with tremendous joy that we share the wonderful news that a federal judge has preliminarily ruled that an Arizona law banning the teaching of ethnic studies violates students’ constitutional rights. The full decision and consequence for the ruling is still to be announced, but the ruling fully describes the racial animus behind and explicit in the Arizona law.
As network member Carla Shalaby wrote,
“This legal victory for ethnic studies in Tucson is a victory for all who believe young people deserve the teaching of their ancestors in our schools, the hearing and telling of their own stories, and the recognition of their particular place in our history and in our future.
It is also a reminder of the power of youth and educator activism, and I’m grateful to the teachers in Tucson who made their way to the courtroom after losing their classrooms in the unconstitutional ban of their courses.”
Carla also shared a link for the full decision – check it out.
Here’s the NPR story on the ruling and a previous story that details the racist legislation in Arizona.
And, following Carla’s lead, we’d also like tribute artist and cultural worker Julio Salgado for the artwork that so clearly depicts the stakes.
Battling white supremacy requires many strategies. We are thrilled to join thousands in celebration of this important victory. And then we get right back to work.
In Lak Ech