TODOS SOMOS TUCSON! Community unites to support the Arizona Save Ethnic Studies campaign.

Tribute: Mariachi Inlakech accompanied by Sol Porras, dedicate “Amor Eterno” to Avie Guerra, a five-decade long cultural warrior. *pic by ~el chavo

Community unites to support the Arizona Save Ethnic Studies campaign.
-Francisco ‘Chavo’ Romero, Raza Press and Media Association, Special Report

Oxnard, Ca

Over 100 working class community and supportive members gathered at the Café on “A”/Acuña Gallery and Cultural Center on Monday evening, March 28, 2011. They converged to come to support the Save Ethnic Studies Tour event featuring Sean Arce, one of the principal plaintiffs that are in a counter-lawsuit against Arizona’s HB-2211. The event was part of a multi-city tour coordinated by the California Faculty Association (CFA) and the Save Ethnic Studies campaign to defend the K-12 ethnic studies program in Tucson, Az., co-sponsored by Union del Barrio and endorsed by the Colecitvo Todo Poder al Pueblo.

In 2010, there was an onslaught of anti-migrante legislation that hit the communities of Arizona. It was SB-1070 alone that sparked a wave of community resistance not seen since the attempt to push through HR-4437 in 2006 at a national level in which millions of workers, migrantes, and general community took to the streets in an unprecedented level not seen since the 1960’s.

Immediately after Arizona SB-1070, spearheaded by the Governor Jan Brewer, and backed by the ilk of politicians such as Sheriff Joe Arpaio, Russell Pearce, and Tom Horne came the attacks on public education programs. In fact, it was Tom Horne that nearly single handily pushed for the passing of what will be known forever in the history books as House Bill 2281. This bill aims to derail and debunk the achievements of the Ethnic Studies programs, including those that study the Native American, African, Asian, and Chicano/Mexican experience. Despite the clear and convincing fact that educational programs that focus, honor, and embrace the culture, and socio-political history of oppressed and marginalized communities overturn, challenge, and reverse the tide of high school drop/push out rates and general educational achievement, the openly racist politicos moved forward to dismantle four decades of sweat, blood and tears.

It is within these brutal and blatantly oppressive conditions, that a handful of maestros and students, with their humble means have openly challenged the farce, lies and rhetoric that Brewer, Arpaio and Pearce spew.

Every penny counts! There are few people that are willing to give it all up for the cause, but, the teachers and students from the Tucson, Arizona area have literally and physically challenged this notion! It is within this reality that ‘la lucha’ is playing itself out and will be written in the history books. To that end, representatives of this landmark and historical struggle have been traveling to voice and share their story about sacrifice, struggle and perseverance.

At every stop the Save Ethnic Studies Tour is collecting a dollar or two. Sometimes, a gracious person cuts out a check for $100 or so, but that is far and few between. When this type of legislation hits California, perhaps, when their job is on the on line they will feel the need to donate a couple of thousand dollars. Time will tell. For those are a bit more conscious, a few hundred dollars of donation is a drop in the bucket. This is why we have pushed and pressured those academics, professionals, etc, which have benefitted from the Chicano Movement, the “civil rights” movement, to donate!

Within this contextual reality, we held the forum. It was a humble way of honoring our compañera, Avie Guerra, a local Chicana warrior, a mujer, that that fought for human rights, for students and youth, and for Chicano Studies.

It was a way of honoring and calling for the local support of the Café on “A”/Gallery and Cultural Center, a bastion for our comunidad.

So, we moved forward with the Programa del Pueblo. We, the working people of Oxnard and Ventura County raised nearly $3,000 for this campaign. It was Danza Huitzlin Ihuan Xochitl, Inlakech Mariachi, Colectivo Todo Poder al Pueblo, Unión del Barrio, K.E.Y.S. Youth, Tacos Mi Pueblo, Café on “A”, Witness for Peace, Public Works Collective, Sicks Three, La Catrina Mexican Folk Art, Luz Ma, Mayo de la Rocha, Tomas Carrasco, Tara Yosso, Chuy Rocha, Gabriel Serrano, Xavier Montes, Daniel Zapata, Verónica Under the Sun, the Moreno and Romero Family, Culture One, Barrio Productions, El Güero, and many more.

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