FULL SET OF PICTURES: http://chrissummitt.com/blog/protestaz/boardmtg_4_10_12/
How it went down:
The board meeting tonight was epic. On the agenda was the vote on whether or not to renew Sean Arce’s (director of the Mexican American studies department) contract. There was a large turn out from the community to show support for Sean. The board meeting had an extended call to the audience which lasted 3 hours. Many people had very moving, very inspiring things to say about the MAS classes and in support of Sean.
These meetings always draw a huge crowd because of the huge community support and interest in saving the classes. Regardless, the board chooses to have the meetings in a tiny board room and force the majority of the community out onto the street to hear the meeting over a speaker system. This time they got a projector with a video feed of what was happening inside. This could easily be avoided by just choosing a bigger venue but it has never happened.
Once the call to the audience ended a large group of students and community supporters stood up and began chanting. They were all tied together at the wrist with zip ties. Using the chairs in the room they barricaded themselves into a circle and shut down the meeting. The security rushed to the front, the board members ran away, and the crown went wild. At that time they decided to pull the video feed so that none of this could be seen by anyone who wasn’t in the board room. Lots of chanting and community outcry took place.
After a fair amount of time had passed Mark Stegeman (board president) came out and attempted to issue his conditions for the continuation of the meeting. The crowd yelled back their terms, and eventually the board conceded and came back out. A vote was passed to fire Sean Arce. A smoke bomb was released. More chanting. The board leaves. The community exits the building and as this happens, security grabs a youth and tries to tackle him. The community members surrounding him fight to get him back and there is a huge struggle. Eventually he escapes and the security disperses. The meeting is over. Intense. Let the pictures tell the story better.
FULL SET HERE: http://chrissummitt.com/blog/protestaz/boardmtg_4_10_12/
The Cesar Chavez March started at St. John’s Catholic Church this year. For the past decade it had started at Pueblo High School. This year, (the year that ethnic studies courses were banned), the Tucson Unified School District decided to put restrictions on the use of Pueblo as a starting point.
TUSD has demanded there be no reference to the elimination of the successful Mexican American Studies program, an issue that has deeply affected the Latino community. They have also demanded that no disparaging comments be made about District administration, and that an emcee of their choice be selected to enforce this inexcusable level of censorship.
So, not only does the school district want to erase history that happened in the past, they want to take it a step further and erase it as it is made in the present.
Here are the pictures from the march:
Read more about the TUSD restrictions here: http://www.azpm.org/news/story/2012/3/29/1646-cesar-chavez-march-moved-after-event-restrictions-imposed/
In Tucson, a group wearing hoodies and raising bags of skittles up in the air marched to bring awareness to the murder of Trayvon Martin. Martin was murdered on Feb. 26 in Sanford, Florida, as he was walking from a market to a relative’s house. The boy, wearing a hoodie, had bought a package of Skittles and an Arizona ice tea at the store. George Zimmerman, 28, a neighborhood watch captain at a townhouse complex in the town north of Orlando, put a bullet through Trayvon’s chest,killing him instantly. Zimmerman, claiming he shot the unarmed boy in self-defense, has not been arrested or charged with the crime.
PICTURE SET HERE: http://chrissummitt.com/blog/protestaz/trayvon
If the system isn’t working for you anymore, you must leave it and make a new system. Today, UNIDOS held their own school of ethnic studies, where students could come and learn about the truths, the state is attempting to take away.
I wasn’t able to attend the whole day so I only got a few pictures. Check out my full set here: http://chrissummitt.com/blog/protestaz/unidosschool/
In preparation for the UNIDOS School of Ethnic Studies, the community came out and made some beautiful artwork.
While the institution continues to fail us, the community continues to rise. Ethnic Studies is abolished inside the gates of our schools but not the streets of our community. Education is ours, from the roots our knowledge will continue to grow with autonomous education. UNIDOS presents: School of Ethnic Studies, the first steps to reclaiming our education. Come join students, artist & supporters for a night of music, art & education!
My documentation can be seen HERE: http://chrissummitt.com/blog/protestaz/unidosart/
Today the board voted on whether to appeal Huppenthal’s decision about the MAS classes. It was the last chance for the board to redeem itself. Did it? No, of course not. Adelita Grijalva said some stirring words in defense of MAS, the rest of the board said a bunch of bullshit. The board voted to not appeal the decision. There will be no more classes come August.
When the decision came, I was already outside and people got pissed. All of the extra fences set up to ‘protect’ the board from the community began to come down. A lot of chanting ensued. The police force acted in a much different manner than in May of last year when all the riot cops resorted to police brutality. Don’t get me wrong, there still was an unnecessary amount of security but this time, they just stood by and watched while the crowd became emotional.
Needless to say, this is not over. It can’t be. The fight will continue.
Here is my full set of pictures from the evening:
On 6/14/2011 UNIDOS held a 24 hr vigil in front of the TUSD headquarters to protest HB2281
FULL SET HERE:
One of the most amazing events I have ever photographed. No one expected this to happen. I attended the board meeting like I always do in support of the students defending ethnic studies. It was a pretty big turnout and I barely got a seat in the back. I had all my equipment with me just in case anything happened, and it did.
Here I was just taking some test shots of the audience to get my exposure correct, I happened to have my ultrawide on as that is what I usually start with. Minutes before the scheduled start of the meeting several students ran in to the front of the room where the board usually sits. Carrying chains they pushed through a lone security guard who tried to manhandle them before they were able to sit down. As the nine of them sat down they chained themselves to the chairs.
As soon as I see them run in I start shooting and running up to the front at the same time. Struggling with the right exposure in this dimly lit room, I gave up at one point and just put the iso as high as it could go. I had my photo bag sitting on a chair and not on my back and so when I ran up I left it, leaving me with only one lens. Luckily it was the wide angle. I got to the very front and shot everything I saw, the students pounding their fists, the crowd behind me growing. The space to shoot got tight real fast, oh how lucky I was to have had the ultrawide.
The students made their demands and were finally heard (sort of) and I captured it all. It was an inspiring event and I’ll never forget it. The rest of the story is really better told in pictures, so here they are
FULL SET HERE: