I’ve been photographing the fight to save ethnic studies for a while now and so have other local photographers. It’s been a pretty wild ride and it is not even close to over. Along the way I’ve captured some pretty powerful images and ridiculous circumstances. I am working with some other photographers to put together a showcase of the history of this battle in photographs. If you’re ion town, please stop by the show. It will definitely be something to see.
When: Aug 11th 6-9pm
Where: Fluxx Studio and Gallery, 414 e. 9th street, Tucson AZ
What: A collective of local photographers have come together to create a time line of compelling images captured in one of the most important civil rights movements of our time, the struggle to save Mexican American Studies. The power of solidarity, courage and love may not always be televised, but it has been documented in photos - don’t miss this historic show! SATURDAY AUGUST 11 FLUXX GALLERY 414 E 9TH TUCSON…6-9PM…$5 donation appreciated, proceeds will go to the Raza Defense Fund.
Today there was a special reading from the works of Barrio El Hoyo’s literary pioneer, Mario Suarez in support of Tucson Freedom Summer with Tucson writers Mari Herreras, Ernesto Portillo, Jr., D.A. Morales, Maya Arce, and Jeff Biggers.
Beautiful words read by talented writers. Photos below:
Full Set: http://chrissummitt.com/blog/suarezreading
More info about Mario Suarez: http://www.uapress.arizona.edu/Books/bid1562.htm
Today there was a Press Conference held in front of TUSD Board Member Mark Stegeman’s house. The purpose was to address the recent decision by Stegeman to ‘unban’ books which he previously helped get taken out of the classroom.This is felt to be a political tactic and not sincere in the least. Here are some photographs.
FULL SET: http://chrissummitt.com/blog/press_conf_stegeman/
Here is some more info:
On January 10th 2012, the Tucson Unified School District board voted to suspend all Mexican (MAS) classes with a 4-1 vote. A few days after the resolution was passed TUSD representatives entered the classrooms and boxed hundreds of MAS books, thus starting the BAN on Mexican American history books and renowned Chicano literature, which historically document the stories and contributions of Mexican Americans to the U.S.
Fast-forward six months to the upcoming July 24th school board meeting. Former board President and current board member, Mark Stegeman, will be introducing a resolution to “un-ban” the MAS books he had voted to box up in February. As representatives of the movement to reinstate MAS in TUSD schools we question this move on several fronts. Why now? What does Dr. Stegeman hope to gain by this strange reversal? After two years of a relentless drive to help eliminate the MAS program from TUSD, is Stegeman now reconsidering the damage he has inflicted on TUSD students and the Mexican American community or is this an attempt to bolster his re-election campaign by telling more lies to sugar coat the truth?
We believe Dr. Stegeman’s gesture is a poor attempt to placate what he would refer to as “restless natives”. Stegeman’s shady maneuvering to distance himself from his previous decisions and reverse such a serious issue as banning books from classrooms, calls into questions every one of the board’s votes concerning MAS. We further question whether it has really taken Dr. Stegeman six months to come to the realization that banning books is wrong or if the successful efforts of Tucson Freedom Summer are posing a threat to Dr. Stegeman and his re-election. As Tucson Freedom Summer participants survey dozens of local households, evidence of deep concerns regarding TUSD’s actions toward MAS is emerging and is being strategically documented.
Tucson Freedom Summer (a project of Save Ethnic Studies) is a national convergence of activist, artists and organizers who in addition to a month of cultural and educational events are currently launching a citywide informational canvass and survey about the state of education in Tucson. Information about events and volunteering activities can be found at Tucsonfreedomsummer.com and
on Facebook at Tucson Freedom Summer 2012.
Here we are again, another board meeting. I’ll just get right to the good stuff. There was a good showing from the community today. Just prior to the meeting, dark storm clouds gathered and a short down pour occurred. The people outside were let very slowly into the building to find shelter from the rain. Due to the ridiculous security, this was a slow process.
Once the meeting began, there was a call to the audience, there were many great speakers in support of MAS, and at least one planted speaker from Stegeman. There was much support from activists that came in from out of town. Directly after the call to the audience, a rumble began and it wasn’t the thunder outside, it was from within. Clapping hands joined in, a beat was formed and calls from across the room began the song. The room was filled with words about Rosa Parks and despite Cuevas’ best attempt to quell the energy in the room, it went on. Immediately, the board members got up and walked out. All except Adelita Grijalva who remained for the song’s entirety. As soon as the song was completed, a call from the audience, “Tucson Freedom Summer, walk out!” And the whole room was emptied in a matter of minutes. Chanting and inspiring words continued outside.
Here is my documentation:
FULL SET: http://chrissummitt.com/blog/boardmtg_7_10_12/