In 2011, Arizona passed House Bill 2281 which banned ethnic studies. The Tucson Unified School District specifically banned the Mexican/American Studies Program (MAS studies). This program's pedagogy was based on critical thinking, community service, critical consciousness, and social transformation. Along with teaching cultural traditions, and an alternative historical narrative, these classes also placed an emphasis on teaching all of the students the correlation between race/ ethnicity and power and privilege within the society. This program was a threat because it assisted and guided the students in the collective struggle to transform the power structure. The ban ignited a movement in Arizona of student youth and educators who are fighting for the "precious knowledge" that inspired the MAS program.
Two of former the MAS teachers, Sean Arce and Jose Gonzales are currently being sued under the false premise of "defamation" by John Ward, former Tucson Unified School District (TUSD) teacher and current operative of the Arizona right-wing, which includes Arizona's Attorney General Tom Horne (the originator of the State of Arizona's anti- Mexican American Studies HB 2281).
La Raza Defense fund was established to raise funds for their defense. They are being sued for over a million dollars each and are fundraising for the 50,000 dollars necessary for their defense. This law suit is clearly a part of the ongoing attack on the Mexican American Studies program, the community in Tucson and on the teachers themselves.
Please help us show our solidarity and support for these amazing teachers and their incredible commitment to empower the youth in their community!
14 Maine Street
Brunswick, ME 04011