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JULY 21, 2011: Peg's Blogs on Hiatus...

As many friends and regular readers know, I've been dealing with a lot in my personal life, lately, while my workload has continued to grow. Rest assured that I'm in the best of company, and getting by with a little help from my friends. Still, I need to take a break and focus on centering myself. That means this site will be neglected even more than it has been.

Until I'm able to get a grip on blogging regularly and thoughtfully again here (or until someone else steps in to anchor the site), I encourage people to check out Carl Toersbijns' blog (he's a former Deputy Warden for the AZ Department of Corrections, and while not an abolitionist, he's a strong advocate for the prisoners with mental illness, and for broad-based prison reform in AZ). You may also want to drop in on Middle Ground Prison Reform's site for news.

Thursday, May 5, 2011

TUSD students, community FIGHT BACK!!!

It may seem strange that I'm posting a white guy's blog on the TUSD Board meeting and protest last night, but I just can't stay up all night tonight to recount last night's events, and this is pretty thorough, from that perspective. It was unbelievable - definitely historic. You need to hit all the media yourself to grasp it.

So, the pho
tos here are mine, but the blog post is Stephen Lemon's, appropriated from the Phoenix New Times as part of the Commons. I plan to keep doing that until he complains (I lean towards anarchy and anti-copyright, but try not to be rude about it...). If you want to see Stephen's pictures from Tucson and all the comments that follow the original post, hit the title link.

The cops were really overkill. They were thugs, too.

For more critical analysis on the racist Arizona Ethnic Studies' ban from a diverse (albeit progressive) community of Tucson bloggers, hit the Tucson Citizen; Abie Morales' blog is the Three Sonorans.

For great independent video coverage on this and other AZ issues, subscribe to whatABCs, Dennis Gilman's humanleague002, and PANLEFT Productions on Youtube.

Robert Haasch is at most protests I'm at, and then some - he does some good indymedia coverage of AZ politics - especially as expressed at the community level - at the Desert Free Press. He's a great photographer, too, and frequently puts out his own videos.

I loved this guy...

some of the stickers going around...
Signs of resistance were everywhere...

Tucson Unified School District's Tuesday Night Debacle

Police in full riot gear, some tech-ed out SWAT-style with pepper-spray guns. A cop chopper overhead. Protesters locking arms to prevent police vehicles from moving. A 69 year-old activist on crutches arrested and cited, along with six others. Cops flinging demonstrators around like rag dolls.

In other words, not your average school board meeting.

Such was the scene last night as the Tucson Unified School District's governing board once more took up the issue of Mexican-American ethnic studies, the target of a new Arizona law championed by now Arizona Attorney General and former state schools Superintendent Tom Horne, seeking to end the program.

Before leaving office, Horne declared the program to be in non-compliance with the statute, and called for the complete elimination of the courses. However, current school's Superintendent John Huppenthal has commissioned an audit of TUSD's Mexican-American Studies, the findings for which have yet to be released.

Last week, TUSD board members were expected to consider a proposal to downgrade the courses, making them electives that will no longer fulfill core requirements. But before they could be seated, student activists with the group UNIDOS took over the meeting by chaining themselves to members' chairs.

The protest April 26 was raucous, but nonviolent. No arrests were made.

TUSD canceled the meeting, and rescheduled for May 5, Cinco de Mayo. There was talk of holding it at a local high school. TUSD then changed that plan, deciding to hold the meeting May 3 at TUSD's cramped headquarters at 1010 West 10th Street in Tucson.

The proposal from board president Mark Stegeman to make the courses electives, an apparent move to placate Huppenthal before the audit is concluded, was still on the agenda.

After hours of discussion, TUSD members decided to put off the vote until a public forum can be scheduled to discuss the proffered changes.

The community wanted none of it, however. More than 300 demonstrators had gathered outside the TUSD building, with others packed inside the small board room.

They were countered by 100 Tucson cops, who closed off the streets surrounding TUSD, filled its halls, and escorted those who intentionally violated the niceties of parliamentary procedure out of the room. These supposedly dangerous radicals were arrested and cited for 3rd degree criminal trespassing, a misdemeanor.

The TPD later issued a statement saying that its presence was at the request of the governing board, as were the arrests.

Not all of the governing board, however. Staunchly pro-ethnic studies members Adelita Grijalva and Judy Burns were both critical of the police state overkill.

"I was told we were going to hire four to six [off duty] Tucson police officers to assist security," Burns told me after the meeting.

Instead, she said, "I was tripping over cops all night."

So who was to blame for the Fort Knox-like atmosphere? Burns pointed the finger at Stegeman.

"He was told by me, and by [TUSD superintendent John] Pedicone that this was horrible timing." Burns related. "That we needed to wait for the state report...I still believe they will not find us in violation of the law."

But Stegeman, an economics professor at the University of Arizona, remains tone deaf to the furor he has provoked.

During the meeting, as demonstrators were dragged away by police and those listening outside via loudspeakers seethed with anger, Stegeman went into "lecture mode" as he called it, patronizng those present with hoary tales of "when I was in high school...a 100 years ago."

Indeed, despite his advanced degree, he came off as a class-A idiot.

A reputed Democrat whose term is up next year, he even ignored the calls of his own party, which has been unified in defense of ethnic studies.

Pima County Democratic Party Chair Jeff Rogers, who spoke on behalf of the program before the board, couldn't explain why Stegeman seemed so set on playing the heavy in this drama. Or why board member and Democrat Miguel Cuevas was so willing to cop the role of Quisling, or the "swing vote," as some refer to him.

(Board member Michael Hicks, a prototypical "angry white man" Tea Bagger, is anti-ethnic studies. Naturally.)

"No one would have predicted that Stegeman or Cuevas would have supported anything like this," Rogers explained. "We helped both of these people get on the ballot and now they turn their backs on us.

"You've got a school district they say is 60.5 percent -- but is really closer to 70 percent -- Hispanic, and many of their families were indigenous to this area way before it was even a territory or a state. For them to ask to have their heritage taught as part of history, what's wrong with that?"

Some observers are already discussing a recall for Stegeman, with the ultimate goal of firing Pedicone as superintendent.

Pedicone has spoken out of both sides of his mouth on the issue, sometimes praising ethnic studies, sometimes dissing pro-ethnic studies students as "pawns."

Tucson attorney Richard Martinez, who has brought a lawsuit challenging the new anti-ethnic studies law as well as Horne's finding against the TUSD, believes Pedicone is behind Stegeman's proposal.

"This is Pedicone's agenda," stated Martinez, "and he's gotten Stegeman to be his stooge."

But why has Pedicone praised the program in past statements?

"These are people who are afraid to say what they really feel," Martinez told me. "You may not agree with him, but at least Horne has the cojones to say, `I hate what you teach. I don't like the content.'"

Martinez makes a very good case that the Horne-sponsored law will be overturned as vague and unconstitutional. In fact, he's debated Horne at length on the issue. David Morales' Three Sonorans blog has the full give-and-take online, here.

Whatever Stegeman and Pedicone had in mind going forward, Tuesday was a disastrous spectacle for them, and totally unnecessary. It inflamed the community, bringing down the wrath of students, parents, politicos and longtime activists, further alienating all to the board.

"It's absolutely outrageous, unconscionable that they put the cops on us in this heavy way," said Pima County Legal Defender Isabel Garcia. "Never, ever have we seen this kind of action."

She said cops and security wanded and patted everyone down, searching bags and purses, forcing attendees to leave their water bottles behind. Garcia was particularly incensed that 69 year-old Guadalupe Castillo, the lady on crutches mentioned above, was arrested after she tried to read portions of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.'s famous "Letter from a Birmingham Jail."

Indeed, the crowd outside rang with the cries of "Free Lupe!" until she was finally allowed to exit the building after being cited.

There have been some accusations of police abuse. One girl, a 16 year-old brown beret told me both her and her mother had been hit and jerked around by the cops. She showed me her hands, which were bleeding, almost like stigmata.

At one point, I and others eyeballed a squad of SWAT-team types, who looked ready to rumble, standing behind a building near some students waging a sit-in. But they did not attack. The students ultimately disbanded and walked back to the front of the building.

All of the ethnic studies students, current and former, that I spoke with praised the program as teaching them to think critically.

An Anglo gal by the name of Erin, now a freshman at the University of Arizona, said the courses were similar in reading matter and structure to the courses she's taking at U of A.

I asked her about criticisms of the program from Horne and others, specifically over the phrase "kill the gringo," a quote from a Chicano activist used in the history book Occupied America, which Horne often cites as an example of what ethnic studies teaches.

Erin, who like myself belongs to the "gringo" category, laughed, and explained that a phrase such as that would be presented in the context of who said it and when, not as some sort of commandment.

"It's inaccurate to pick out one sentence in probably the 50 different texts you read each semester," she explained. "He's just looking in the text from his perspective...I don't think that's very accurate."

This should be a no-brainer. Take as an example the quote from '60s radical H. Rap Brown, who once said, "Violence is American as cherry pie." If you teach people what the '60s were all about, the phrase might be discussed. But that doesn't mean the person teaching the class is preaching "violence."

What I liked about the protest Tuesday was the diversity of voices all uniting to stave off Stegeman's attack on the program, which is seen as the first step in killing it altogether. Nearly every ethnicity and color was represented.

Jana Happel, an Anglo mom who has two kids attending TUSD, disputed Stegeman's misleading statistics before the board. Stegeman contended that only five percent of TUSD students take ethnic studies.

But Happel pointed out that, "on the average 365 graduates per year took these classes," meaning that, "out of those graduates who had the opportunity to take the classes, one in four" did.

In other words, they are quite popular, and even Pedicone in the past has argued that the classes result in higher AIMS scores, graduation rates, and students matriculating to college.

So why fix it if it ain't broke? TUSD fears the loss of millions in state aid if they keep the status quo.

But critics like Martinez believe that the courts will overturn the law, and that TUSD board members such as Stegeman either are opposed to the courses or are allowing themselves to be bullied by the threat of loss of funds.

There were a few refuseniks present, like one roly-poly senior citizen by the name of Ray Clark, who claimed to be a Navajo and a regular attendee of TUSD meetings.

"The prisons are full of these people," Clark told me of the demonstrators. "They think that this is their land and that they have the right to take over."

Clark also joked that the situation needed a "Bull Connor" and some "police dogs" to straighten things out. He later said he was being facetious, but the gleam in his eyes seemed to belie this, just as when he told me, chuckling, that most journalists deserved to be strung up.

Edwin Rivera, a Latino man in an Arizona Cardinals T-shirt and cap, berated some of the brown berets for wearing a Mexican flag patch on their uniforms. The berets, all students, explained they were not supportive of the Mexican government, just that it was a symbol of their culture.

But Rivera, father of an 18 year-old at TUSD, wasn't buying it. He told me he was a naturalized citizen, and that wearing a Mexican flag is "a slap in the face" to the American flag.

"I feel sorry for those people," he said. "They're born here, they're educated here, and they wear the Mexican flag...You want to wear the Mexican flag, go to Mexico."

Thing is, I told him, you'll probably see more Irish flags on St. Paddy's Day in New York than you'll ever see in Dublin on any given day. If someone has a shirt with an Irish or Italian or British flag on it, no one gets bent out of shape. So what's the big deal with someone waving a Mexican flag or carrying a banner with the Virgin of Guadalupe on it?

To me, it seems self-evident from Tuesday evening's fracas that the ethnic studies ban and the desire of some on the TUSD board to downgrade the program is simply creating more division, anger and distrust in that community.

And with each passing day, it becomes clearer that the effort to axe ethnic studies in Tucson will eventually fail, the sentiments of a few like Rivera and Clark aside.

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Signs of Resistance at TUSD: VIVA LA RAZA!!!

The post is from the Tucson Citizen Three Sonorans Blog, written, I believe, by David Abie Morales.

The photos are mine, from the TUSD H
Q protest yesterday afternoon. What an amazing crowd was there - hundreds and hundreds of young people, old people, hippies, queers, Brown Berets (in uniform)...and over 100 cops.

This is a good account of the public highlights...I'm just too exhausted to write my own right now.

-----------The Tucson Citizen:
Three Sonorans Blog---------

What happened Tuesday at the TUSD meeting?

May 4, 2011
David Abie Morales

To begin with, my phone battery died at around 5:30, as the meeting was starting.

No email/text/facebook until now, 8 hours later. 60 text messages and 66 facebook alerts. So to all my friends, no I was not arrested, and yes I’m alright.

I was inside the TUSD board room capturing video and didn’t know what was going on outside until I was debriefed afterwards. Well, I knew a little bit from those around me who still had juice on their phones. In addition, I went through two camcorder batteries.

Why does the Southern Arizona Leadership Council have leaders that compromise on justice and racist attacks on Mexican-Americans in Tucson?

Preliminary thoughts: John Pedicone royally messed up tonight. There was about a hundred cops there, all armed, some in riot gear, and one would think they were at a G8 meeting, not a local school board meeting.

Not even top elected officials like Richard Elias could get inside. Full pat-downs, metal detectors, and cops after cops after cops.

There was cops in the back board room, a wall of cops of about 5 in front of the board, another wall of cops at the back, more cops in the lobby, and more cops outside to get in, and several dozen outside protecting a barricade of the building.

Helicopters, riot gear, and police everywhere you looked.

This is what a leader from Oro Valley, where John Pedicone lives, thinks of Tucsonans. All a bunch of thugs and criminals. The cops were not there to protect and serve us the community, they were there to arrest us the community.

There were arrests, there was police brutality, and there were other extreme violations of rights.

All of this I will cover more in depth tomorrow. It is still surreal to me. John Pedicone actually ordered the arrest of Lupe Castillo, one of our most loved professors, elderly and disabled. The cops brought her to the ground. Her crime?

Free speech.

This is an example of how Pedicone and Stegeman do not understand the community. Treating her like they did was like beating up our abuelita, our loved grandmother.

Pedicone crossed the line tonight. Lots of veteranos were there tonight that were involved in the student walkouts in the 1960s. They said this is the worse they have ever seen it, even worse that the civil rights movement of the 60s.

And all of this conflict of Ethnic Studies is created by Mark Stegeman and John Pedicone.

It is a crisis that need not exist, but exists solely through the stubbornness of Mark Stegeman and the racially insensitive (or just flat out racist) leadership of the Vice President of the Southern Arizona Leadership Council. For myself, SALC’s reputation has been forever tarnished, and I want nothing at all to do with anything they do. From urban renewal and destroying La Calle, to destroying Mexican-American Studies today, this is not the kind of “leadership” I want leading us.

I have many thoughts, and I will explore them in more detail tomorrow, but I will leave this with one final thought for tonight.

John Pedicone needs to resign.

--------------finally,from Panleft's youtube channel, the Tucson PD at it's best--------

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Signs of Resistance: SAVE ETHNIC STUDIES Today!



I-10/202 at 18th St.

Arizona's Choice Today: Students Lead New Civil Rights Movement

Jeff Biggers
Huffington Post
05/ 3/11 10:50 AM ET

Stumbling further into the quagmire of a national public relations disaster, drastic new measures by the Tucson Unified School District (TUSD) officials have turned the "manufactured crisis" over the Ethnic Studies/Mexican American Studies Program into a troubling moral crisis for the city --and the country.

As Tucson school officials appear to unravel daily with increasing controversy, Mexican American Studies (MAS) students and UNIDOS activists are now emerging as the calmest standard-bearers of civil discourse for the community.

In an op-ed today, two MAS students made a simple request: If the TUSD officials are truly interested in dialogue, they should table a controversial resolution that has divided the community.

Instead, in an alarming crackdown on the non-violent UNIDOS student campaign last week that attracted national praise for its celebratory actions and demands for basic democratic involvement in education, the backpedaling TUSD superintendent John Pedicone has shocked the community by hiring costly armed guards to monitor this Tuesday's rescheduled governing school board vote over a controversial school board resolution to strip the accreditation of the Ethnic Studies Program.

Only months ago, the Chicago-transplanted Pedicone declared the draconian state ban on Ethnic Studies was unconstitutional and a challenge to the law would be "the first hurdle." In a candidate's forum last fall, Pedicone even admitted: "If you look at the data, it is hard to argue with the success this program has with a historically under served population." In fact, a recent TUSD analysis demonstrated the achievements of the MAS program.

In a disturbing provocation this Sunday, Pedicone, who reportedly lives out of the district in the affluent suburb of Oro Valley, published an incendiary op-ed in the Arizona Daily Star newspaper that offensively denigrated student efforts "as pawns," blamed adults for "abhorrent" behavior, and falsely categorized last week's widely denounced resolution vote as only a "discussion."

As Tucson attorney Richard Martinez noted last week in a debate with TUSD board president Mark Stegement, the divisive resolution prematurely subverts an unfinished state audit in disarray, as well as a federal suit challenging the constitutionality of the new state law banning Ethnic Studies. In a quiet but stunning smackdown of Stegemen's misguided efforts, Martinez framed the TUSD effort as part of a "manufactured crisis."

This is the simple truth: Compounding the shameless Ethnic Studies witch hunt by extremist state officials, the Democraty Party-led TUSD school administrators have triggered a "moral crisis" over their seeming disconnection to the actual city of Tucson, by rebuffing MAS student and UNIDOS participation, and blatantly disregarding the reality of the district's majority of Mexican American students and the city's fervent and deeply rooted Chicano movement heritage.

On the anniversary today of the "Children's Crusade" in the Civil Right Movements, when students took the forefront of Martin Luther King's Birmingham campaign in 1963, Mexican American Studies student group UNIDOS is not only ramping up its efforts to keep the district's acclaimed program alive but teach the faltering school administrators a lesson in civility and democracy.

As the Tucson students reminded their community, Martin Luther King, Jr wrote his historic "Letter from the Birmingham Jail," on "Why We Can't Wait," as he faced similar criticism of his protests as "unruly." King wrote: "For years now, I have heard the word 'Wait! ... This 'Wait' has almost always meant 'Never.'" Nearly a half century ago, Alabama students recognized King's call "to create a situation so crisis-packed that it will inevitably open the door to negotiation."

"When youth transparently vocalize that they are unsatisfied with decisions made on their education," said 20-year-old MAS alumni, UA journalism student and UNIDOS activist Elisa Meza, "that should motivate the elected school board officials to initiate the civil discourse they believe we haven't already requested. Since February, TUSD have been pressured by the youth to initiate just that. To blame the youth that direct dialogue should have been the first step is a tactic to switch the narrative to imply immaturity on our actions. When, in reality, they've been incredibly immature to have ignored our voices in the first place."

As graduating and college-bound MAS high school Lisette Cota spelled out last month, UNIDOS has been asking for dialogue with the school officials for months.

For many long-time community members, the student uprising last week in Tucson recalled the Chicano student walkouts in the community in 1969, and marks the beginning of a new civil rights movement.

Consider this time line provided by UNIDOS over the last four months:

Jan 3- Two hours before Tom Horne's position changes from State Superintendent to Attorney General he serves a letter to TUSD calling them out of compliance with 2281 and has 60 days to eliminate the program before the states begins withholding funds. He presents "evidence" of the classes' non-compliance such as testimony from anonymous teachers, out of context quotes from books like Rudolfo Acuna's Occupied America and Paulo Freire's Pedagogy of the Oppressed, and lyrics from Chicano hip hop groups "El Vuh" and "Aztlan Underground."

The 11 teachers along with their attorney Richard Martinez and Save Ethnic, the non-profit organization providing the legal defense for the teachers, counter his press conference with their own a few hours later in Tucson.

Jan 8- John Roll, Chief Arizona U.S. District Judge who was assigned to see the case against HB 2281, is killed along with five others at a "Congress on your Corner" event with Congresswomen Gabrielle Giffords. Congresswoman Giffords is shot and 19 others are injured. A 45-day extension is added to TUSD's 60 day deadline to become in compliance in HB 2281.

Jan 11- The 11 plaintiffs announce to TUSD school board members that if the district does not join their lawsuit or create their own battling the state of AZ on the constitutionality of the bill, they will be added onto the lawsuit as defendants. They give TUSD 48 hrs to reply.

Jan 14- TUSD announces to the "Arizona Daily Star" that the district is going to be in compliance with the bill, making whatever compromises to the program to do so. TUSD is now going to be added on to the lawsuit Acosta v. The State of AZ.

Jan 24- The five who were found guilty are sentenced to 10 hours of community service and fines.

Feb 5- Mexican American Studies Community Advisory Committee hosts first Community Forum in Support of TUSD's Ethnic Studies Program to educate about the success of the program and rally support on combating HB 2281. Students of the program, parents of the students, teachers and staff of the department, and elected officials speak on behalf of Ethnic Studies.

Feb 8- At TUSD school board meeting U.N.I.D.O.S. (United Non-discriminatory Individuals Demanding Our Studies); a new Tucson youth coalition of students from local high schools, alumni and community members who formed in response of the growing attacks on education and culture by Arizona legislature, make their grand debut to the community and TUSD board members with a press conference.

Representatives of the group demand a sit-down meeting with all TUSD school board members and that the district, the State Board of Education and the state of Arizona must act in accordance to international human rights laws, which HB 2281 violates.

A musical, cultural and artistic celebration continues outside of TUSD 1010 building after the demands are read to school board members during the 'call to the audience.'

Feb. 28- UNIDOS has a sit down discussion with only two of the five TUSD board members Adelita Grijalva and Judy Burns and present the positive impacts that Raza Studies does for the Latino community and what negative results will occur to the district's students if TUSD doesn't do everything in its power to protect the classes.

Mar. 8- UNIDOS representatives make a public statement in response to their meeting with the two school board members during Call to the Audience at TUSD school board meeting. UNIDOS demands for an announcement by the board members in the next 24 hours that they will keep the classes as they are no matter what the state may do. UNIDOS urges the district to act in the spirit of Martin Luther King, Jr. who said, "One has not only a legal, but moral responsibility to obey just laws. Conversely, one has a moral responsibility to disobey unjust laws."

That very same morning of the school board meeting, unbeknownst to the community, the district made its first move to dismantle the program from the inside. Superintendent John Pedicone gave his position as supervisor over Director of Student Equity, Augustine Romero and Mexican-American Studies Director, Sean Arce to Asst. Superintendent Lupita Garcia -- who has openly made statements in the past that she would like to see the department abolished.

Mar 11- Mexican American Studies Community Advisory Committee holds press conference outside TUSD 1010 building denouncing the move of positions.

Mar 16- The Arizona Department of Education and State Superintendent John Huppental hire the Cambium Learning Group of Dallas, TX to conduct a four to six week curriculum audit of the Mexican American Studies Department to evaluate whether the program is in compliance with HB 2281 and meets up to state standards. The audit group will make unannounced classroom visits, interview students and staff, and evaluate teaching materials.

Mar 17- Save Ethnic Studies sends a letter to the TUSD governing board bringing to light the criminal history of Steve Gallon, who is appointed as head consultant of the audit for Mexican American Studies. Steve Gallon is the former superintendent of Plainfield School District in New Jersey and was arrested in 2010 with 11 criminal charges including conspiring to commit theft of more than $10,000 of educational services.

Mar 18- Steve Gallon resigns from the position following Save Ethnic Studies' coverage of his criminal past and is replaced by Luanne Nelson.

Mar 21- State audit for Mexican American Studies begins and Save Ethnic Studies with attorney Richard Martinez issue a press release calling the audit unlawful and a waste of tax payer money which will cost us $170,000. Martinez brings into question how the audit could possibly remain unbiased when the state of Arizona is hiring this group to investigate the teachers who are suing the state over the constitutionality of HB 2281. He also points out additional violations such as Federal Family, Educational, and Privacy Rights Act of 1974.

Mark Stegeman, president of the Tucson Unified School District governing board, submits an opinion piece to the Arizona Daily Star calling for Mexican American Studies to transition to Hispanic Student Services, which would only focus on extracurricular activities, and for the classes, who currently count as accredited core English and Social Studies classes, to be reduced down to elective classes.

April 6- The 11 teachers suing the state refuse to meet with the auditors in a "focus group discussion." Save Ethnic Studies sends a letter on their behalf to Superintendent Pedicone, declining the invitation because the audit lacks any legal authority, defined terms and remains unknown if the persons conducting the audits have any expertise in Mexican American critical race theory.

April 11- Sally Rusk and Maria Federico-Brummer, 2 of the 11 teachers express in an op-ed how any sort of compromise to the program is unacceptable. They explain why transition the classes from accredited core classes to electives would kill the program. They further defend the program which meets and excels far beyond the achievement gap for the Latino population, which is the second largest failing in TUSD as well as its majority population. In fact most of schools where these classes are taught have a 90 percent minority population -- mainly Latino.

April 12- UNIDOS boycotts TUSD school board meeting due to silenced youth voice. Students in press release recount the lack of response to their demands for the district, superintendent and board members to show true support for the program. Instead, all the district has done is refuse to join the teacher lawsuit or initiate one of their own, released a resolution declaring compliance with an unjust HB 2281, are currently cooperating with a biased State audit of the classes, and the board president Mark Stegeman is publicly advocated for killing our Ethnic Studies program by turning our classes into electives.

As the nation watches today's historic meeting in Tucson, Pedicone and the TUSD officials will have the choice of reaffirming the process of democratic involvement with UNIDOS and all students and community members, as Martin Luther King wrote, "to heal" the legacies of the past and move the district forward, or retreat deeper into the quagmire of the state's embarrassing witch hunt.