“No History Is Illegal” Campaign: Pledge to Support Tucson

Dear Rethinking Schools friends,

As we wrote earlier, on Jan. 13, we learned that our book Rethinking Columbus had been banned in Tucson schools as part of Arizona’s broader suppression of the successful Mexican American Studies (MAS) program. We asked for ideas about how we could oppose the attacks on this program and act in solidarity with teachers and students there.

Rethinking Schools readers flooded us with comments and ideas. Thanks to all of you who wrote, called, posted on our Facebook page, and commented here on our blog posts. What a great community of conscience you are.

Rethinking Schools invites you to join the effort launched today, February 1, by the national Teacher Activist Groups (TAG) network: “No History Is Illegal: A Campaign to Save Our Stories“–by teaching lessons from and about the banned Mexican American Studies program. Visit the “No History Is Illegal” website, where you’ll find curriculum materials from the Mexican American Studies program as well as teaching ideas and resources developed by TAG teachers around the country.

Here’s the TAG “pledge,” which Rethinking Schools supports:

“In solidarity with the students and teachers in the Mexican American Studies program in Tucson, AZ, I pledge my support to teach and raise awareness about their struggle and to ensure that the perspectives and stories of historically marginalized populations are kept alive in our classrooms and communities.”

Sign on here.

And check out this Saturday’s “Teach-In on Tucson,” at Georgia State University, sponsored by Georgians for fREADom. They’ll be live streaming for those of us not in Georgia.

Rethinking Columbus bannedFinally, many of you have generously offered to buy copies of Rethinking Columbus and other banned books to send to students and teachers in Tucson. As you know, the book-ban is really just “collateral damage.” It’s the entire Mexican American Studies program that Arizona right-wingers have set out to crush.

Nonetheless, there are a number of efforts underway to get books into the hands of students and teachers there — including one we just learned about initiated by The People’s Library at Occupy Wall Street, which is collecting donations to send the seven banned Mexican American Studies program books to Tucson. We’ll keep you posted about these and other efforts.

Thanks for your important work, and for your support of Rethinking Schools.

5 thoughts on ““No History Is Illegal” Campaign: Pledge to Support Tucson

  1. I may have overlooked this but why exactly was it banned in the first place? It’s so dissapointing to hear things like this. I see no benefit in removing it nor see the problem with having it remain in the classroom? Diversity makes such an impact in our youth today and now instead of informing and explaining diversity and its history, we are going to take it away and suppress it? I wish I would have had the opportunity to have had more instuction in grade school with issues such as these. But I guess it is easier for the curriculm to brush it under the carpet and act as if it is non existent. So sad, I wish there was something that could be done to change this.

    1. Adriana: Thanks for commenting. Don’t feel hopeless. We CAN do something about it. Please go to this campaign website: http://www.teacheractivistgroups.org/tucson/. If you’re a teacher, you can pledge to teach your students about this. Even if you don’t teach, download the curriculum, and you will find background information, book and film recommendations. Watch the film “Precious Knowledge” with your friends, and do what you can to educate your family and friends about this issue. –Kris Collett

    1. Dan K: Your definition of book banning appears to be restricted to the sale/purchase of material, whereas the American Library Association describes banning as the removal of material:

      “What’s the difference between a challenge and a banning? A challenge is an attempt to remove or restrict materials, based upon the objections of a person or group. A banning is the removal of those materials. Challenges do not simply involve a person expressing a point of view; rather, they are an attempt to remove material from the curriculum or library, thereby restricting the access of others.”
      http://www.ala.org/advocacy/banned/aboutbannedbooks

      The common denominator of both definitions is, of course, censorship.

  2. I am writing a Bible. You know the beginning started in Northeast Africa but the people look European. I am redoing the Bible where it is Multicultural. I have finished it but I want the pictures to be done by an artist, or people who can draw well. I have no money. I have someone doing Genesis and Exodus and no one else. It has taken him two months because he has to work on two jobs to take care of his family. I would like for someone to volunteer for the other books. My email address is jacksondh@live.com.
    In this Bible, after the main part I have added, poems written by my ancestors about our struggles and I have questions about the Bible illustrated. I have been working on this for over a year. In fact this is the second year. I have an article for example, “The Making of a Negro”; “The Power to Define”; “The Black Christ” under this subject I have written about your struggles. I just heard about it on television. It was a comedy show and they interviewed a teacher and an administrator, the administrator was white and he seemed stupid but not ashame of it. I am retired on fixed income. I have no idea of how I am going to get this published. This is my sixth book.
    The actions of these people are just like those in places like Germany, Russia. I have never heard of America saying that history is illegal. They usually write there own version of it and have you teach that. Like they are doing with Biblical history. If the white world knew that Jesus was black, they would not claim him.
    Finally, the underhanded stuff that Americans do is coming out. Theyhave been cruel to Blacks every since we have been here. Now because of the Free Trade Agreement that was signed by Clinon, Mexicans have had to come to America to earn a decent living. I did a study on this when I had to take a Spanish class to keep my job. I had to do a presentation in Spanish. A white professor did not like the fact that I could not speak Spanish as fluently as her students, so she called my job. I was teaching in my minor field, and was told to get more hours, she called my job, even though I got more hours, making “A”s, I lost my job. I have not worked since. That was in another town, in Indianapolis. Now I live in Alabama. My new grandson is here.

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