Ethnic Studies Community Forum

by David Safier

I just came back from the forum on Ethnic Studies held at the El Pueblo Center. Very moving. It was clear, the program is the real deal, and losing it or even watering it down would be a serious loss to Tucson in general and the students who participate in particular.

Among the speakers were current Ethnic Studies students, ex-student and parents. Thirty years with high school students and their parents have given me the ability to see through dramatizing and exaggeration you sometimes get when non-professionals try to talk up a program. None of that here. These students and parents were for real. Students' lives have been changed for the better because of their participation in the program, no doubt about it. The parents' testimonials about the changes they saw in their children were stirring as well.

The race baiters and race haters among Republican legislators — and yes, many Republicans hate Latinos, no doubt about it — are using legislation to bludgeon Latinos and to play to their base. Short term, they're going to win a lot of battles. Long term, we'll have to see. They're fighting history and demographics. But I hope to hell they don't win this fight against Ethnic Studies.

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