Thursday, January 26, 2012

Teach-In - Stand in Solidarity with Tucson

Greetings Good Folks,

I am writing on behalf of Georgians for Freadom, a new collaborative effort designed to respond to the ethnic studies ban in Arizona. We are interested in planning a "Teach In" to educate teachers, students, professors, and community members in Georgia about the AZ ban and about how Georgians can respond. We are a collective of faculty, graduate students, and teachers from Georgia State University, Emory University, Clayton State University, Kennesaw University, and metro Atlanta districts.

Our event is scheduled for February 4th from 11:00am through 2:00pm at Georgia State University's College of Education.  For those of you not in Atlanta or unable to be there with us next Saturday, we will be streaming the Teach-In live, and we are encouraging folks around the country to organize gatherings to watch the stream, discuss, and plan local action.  I will forward the url for our live stream once we get it. 

We are interested in your support for this event and hope you can consider our request.

Overview of Issue:
As you have probably seen, the Tucson Unified School District in Arizona just banned Mexican American studies from their curriculum. They also banned several books from the curriculum, including Paulo Freire's Pedagogy of the Oppressed, major contributions to the Chicano(a) studies movement, a book by Rethinking Schools, several books by Sherman Alexie, Howard Zinn's A People's History of the United States, Jonathan Kozol's Savage Inequalities, and even Shakespeare. Teachers may now not teach anything where "race, ethnicity and oppression are central themes." Here's a brief overview if you haven't heard about it yet:   Our Teach-In was even highlighted in Huffington Post yesterday!!:

Overview of our "Teach In":
Attendees will gather for a general session in which we will introduce them to the events in Arizona and the implications for Georgia educators. We have already confirmed four "virtual" guest speakers whose books have been banned in Tucson. These well-known speakers will share their backgrounds and information with the audience. A lunch break will lead into three smaller sessions.

These three groups will include: (1) curricular action, in which participants create lesson plans and activities for PK-12 students on issues of censorship, critical pedagogy, and/or Mexican American history; (2) censored books dialogue, in which participants learn about the books that were banned and the theories contained within them; and (3) legislative overview, in which participants discuss legal implications of the ban in Arizona and around the country. Finally, the group will come back together and discuss responses for higher education, PK-12 schools, and community settings.

How you can help:
In order to proceed with our goals and plans, I hope you can attend the event, spread the word, and let me know if you and/or the organizations for/with whom you work/volunteer/engage in struggles for social justice can offer financial support.

As we need to move quickly on the plans for the event, we hope to hear from you soon. Please let me know if you have any questions, concerns, or suggestions.

Thank you in advance for your consideration.

In peace,

Jillian Ford, on behalf of Georgians for Freadom

HELPED are those who receive only to give; always in their house will be the circular energy of generosity; and in their hearts a beginning of a new age on Earth: when no keys will be needed to unlock the heart and no locks will be needed on the doors.    ~The Gospel According to Shug [Avery]

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