Friday, October 20, 2017

California to Become an (Almost) Sanctuary State

By Duane Campbell

 California Governor Jerry Brown signed into law SB 54 on Thursday Oct 5, the "California Values Act", which built upon the landmark Trust Act to help protect California immigrant residents from deportations. It is commonly known as the “Sanctuary State” act.

Immigrant communities around the state led the fight for the bill, which is considered a "foundation" for additional legislation. The bill was amended to include criticisms and restrictions insisted upon by Governor Brown.  This sanctuary state act contributes to building community and state-level resistance to the White House attacks against the growing "sanctuary" movement among communities, institutions and local and state governments in California.  

As signed, the bill does away with several local deportation practices, such as local police arrests for "civil immigrant warrants", and it helps to ensure that spaces like schools, health facilities, courthouses and other spaces are safe and accessible to all. 

State Senate President Kevin de Leon, the lead author of the bill said, “With today’s signing of SB 54 into law, one of the most important parts of that legal wall of protections is now in place. Donald Trump and Jeff Sessions will not be able to use California’s own law enforcement officials in an effort to round up and deport our fellow Californians.”

The law will go into effect January 1, 2018. Elements of the bill are already in place in numerous cities throughout the state.

Thursday, October 19, 2017

In Disasters' Wake- Betsy De Vos

By Jeff Bryant
A favorite talking point of U.S. Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos is to say that conversations about education should not be about “systems and buildings” but about “individual students.” It’s a skillfully crafted soundbite designed to cast schools as oppressive bureaucracies that limit the education opportunities available to children and families. It also differentiates schools from other essential public infrastructure such as fire and police protection, sanitation, and roads.
Few people question the need to have a fire department or an office responsible for transportation, but DeVos’s scripted phrase is an attempt to convince us that education has become a consumer good we can pick up anywhere and that schools are relics of a bygone era when we didn’t have the internet and other means of conveying knowledge.
But before DeVos casually dismisses the need to dispense with public education institutions across the country, she should look at the vital role schools and educators have played in responding to the string of devastating natural disasters that hit America this year.
When Hurricane Irma strafed Florida, over 6.5 million citizens were ordered to evacuate their homes in the flood zones. Thousands found shelter in schools. Broward County, north of Miami, converted 21 schoolsinto shelters to take in those having to flee Fort Lauderdale and other coastal towns. Palm Beach County schools took in 17,000 evacuees. Sarasota schools welcomed over 19,000 refugees. In Tampa-Hillsborough County, 45 of the district’s schools became storm relief centers, sheltering nearly 30,000 evacuees.

Wednesday, October 18, 2017

Read Paulo Freire

     Paulo Freire was regarded by many on left as one of the most significant educational thinkers of the twentieth century.   His most famous book, Pedagogy of the Oppressed  applies the ideas of  Antonio Gramsci and U.S. philosopher  and socialist John Dewey  to educational projects of organizers and educators working  along with the oppressed in a capitalist society.
In Brazil in the 1960’s, Paulo Freire and his coworkers taught peasants to read in about 30 hours using cultural circles. They developed a theory to explain their action. The theory required praxis, an interaction of consciousness, and social action on the side of the poor (Freire, 1972). Often working along side of  efforts of Liberation Theology, Freire, his students and allies formed teams of cultural workers to engage  peasants  in dialogue to develop literacy and to democratize knowledge, culture, and power in their societies.

The works of Freire and his teams have had a profound effect on literacy, political ,and education practices worldwide. Revolutionary projects in Brazil , Nicaragua, Cuba, Guinea-Bissau,  and elsewhere applied and developed his pedagogical  ideas .

Saturday, October 14, 2017

“The ‘MLK 50th Anniversary’ celebration is a historical milestone that commemorates not only Dr. King's speech on campus but his vision for greater equality and justice for all,” Watson-Derbigny says. “For these reasons, we celebrate as a reminder to live out his dream daily by educating students for leadership, success, and service, and working to build vibrant communities that embody diversity, equity, and inclusion.”
"The significance of Dr. King's visit to Sacramento State is that it coincided with a shift in the political climate in the nation and a resultant change in the focus of the movement," says Robin Carter, MLK celebration co-chair. "He spent the last year of his life articulating a shift from civil rights to human rights. His speech on our campus highlighted his advocacy for this shift." - Dixie Reid
MLK 50th Anniversary Celebration at Sac State, Monday, Oct. 16
Everything, other than the fundraiser brunch, is free and open to the public. Tickets are required for both the 4:15 p.m. gospel concert and 7:30 p.m. keynote address. To RSVP for events you wish to attend and to download free tickets, go to Sac State's MLK celebration page.
·       9:30 to 10:45 a.m., University Union, Redwood Room – Brunch to benefit student scholarships features motivational speaker Inky Johnson. Tickets are $50 and can be purchased online.
·       11 to 11:50 a.m. University Union, Hinde Auditorium – The March (1964), 33-minute documentary about the 1963 March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom, where King spoke. Roberto Pomo, professor of theater, will introduce Richard Blue, brother of the late filmmaker, James Blue.
·       Noon to 12:45 p.m., University Union Ballroom – Keynote speaker Tavis Smiley discusses “Empathy and Economic Inequality.” The PBS talk-show host is the author of Death of a King: The Real Story of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.'s Final Year (no ticket required).
·       12:45 p.m., University Union – Unity march to Hornet Stadium.
·       1:10 p.m., Broad Field House lawn – Dedication of the Tree of Empathy commemorating King’s 1967 visit.
·       2:15 to 3 p.m., University Union, Redwood Room – “The Civil Rights Movement,” panel discussion featuring Clayborne Carson, professor of history at Stanford University and director of the Martin Luther King, Jr. Research and Education Institute. The moderator is J. Luke Wood, a professor at San Diego State and a Sac State alumnus.
·       3:15 to 4 p.m., University Union, various locations – Student workshops.
·       4:15 to 5 p.m., University Union, Lobby Suite – Student docents lead tours of the exhibit “Fifty Years Ago Today at Sacramento State: The Future of the Civil Rights Movement.” The exhibit is open for self-tours from 9 a.m. to 8 p.m.
·       4:15 to 5 p.m. University Union Ballroom – “Empathy, Empowerment, and Praise,” gospel concert featuring the MLK Community Choir and JJ Hairston. Ticketed event. RSVP required.

·       7:30 p.m., University Union Ballroom – Smiley delivers the keynote address, “The Death of a King: A Life of Empathy that Created a Movement.” Ticketed event. RSVP required.

Ethnic studies victories in Arizona come at critical time for the state and country - Education Votes

Ethnic studies victories in Arizona come at critical time for the state and country - Education Votes

Wednesday, October 11, 2017

Dolores Huerta - A Film Review

Dolores – A Film Review

by Duane Campbell

There is an important new film out – Dolores, the story of former DSA Honorary Chair Dolores Huerta and her fight for justice. (All DSA honorary chairs were eliminated by the 2017 DSA convention.) She is the woman holding the Huelga sign on the DSA landing page. If you want to be inspired by her struggle for social justice, go see the film.

Although at times ignored by the Anglo media, and at other times castigated as a red and an “outside agitator,” Huerta tirelessly led the fight for racial and labor justice alongside Cesar Chavez, becoming one of the most important feminists of the twentieth century. If you don’t know her story, you should ask yourself why.  She continues the fight on many fronts to this day, at age 87. With unprecedented access to Dolores, the film reveals important parts of the struggle for dignity and justice for farmworkers, as well as the raw, personal stakes involved in committing one’s  life to social change. 

Dolores, produced by PBS and Independent Lens, serves labor history well by accurately describing the often overlooked role of Filipinos who initiated a strike in Delano in 1965, which the nascent NFWA (National Farm Workers Association) joined to create the great Grape Strike that changed labor history in the Southwest.

Video clips in the documentary illustrate the hard work required to build a union -- particularly a union of Mexican, Filipino, and other migrant workers.   Former DSA Honorary Chairs Eliseo Medina and  Gloria Steinem, along with activist Angela Davis, provide historical records, commentary, insights, testimonies, and evaluations of Huerta’s important life work.

After negotiating the first union contract in grapes, Huerta moved to New York in 1968 to build the Grape Boycott, developing great union support for the effort to build a union for farmworkers. There she encountered Gloria Steinem and the New York feminist movement of that era.  Over the years, Dolores became a well-known Latina/Chicana feminist as well as a union leader. Her participation contributed to a broadening of the mostly white feminist movement of that time to include the struggles of working-class women of color.
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