Conference and Floricanto: Combating Hate, Censorship & Forbidden Curricula

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If incoming Superintendent of Public Instruction John Huppenthal wants to take the next leg of the ethnic studies battle to the universities, then UA ethnic studies Prof. Roberto Rodriguez is preparing us with a conference that brings together academics, activists, poets and students from across the country.

For more info and a conference schedule, visit Rodriguez's blog. The conference is free.

The three-day program started early this morning at 7:30 a.m. with an opening ceremony outside Old Main, and continues on campus with a series of workshops and discussions on Chicano history, ethnic studies and more. Arizona's incoming Attorney General Tom Horne will be happy to know that labor activist Dolores Huerta is returning to Tucson and will speak on Friday evening.

The conference culminates at the El Rio Community Center for a Floricanto with poetry, music and a hip-hop concert.
Leslie Marmon Silko will be there, as well as Stella Pope Duarte and Francisco Alarcon, among many others.

According to the conference's Facebook page, prior to the Floricanto, Calpolli Teoxicalli will lead a run from the base of A Mountain to El Rio Community Center at 7 a.m. A walk is also planned along Mission to Grande to Speedway to El Rio. If you want to participate, send an e-mail to teoxicalli@yahoo.com.

More on the conference from organizers (after the jump):

Last April and May, when the governor of Arizona signed the racial profiling legislation SB 1070, and the anti-ethnic studies HB 2281, our community rose up to challenge these reactionary laws. It was not the first time, but the latest in string of anti-Mexican, anti-Indigenous and anti-immigrant legislation. Part of the reaction has included a series of vigils, walkouts, runs, walks, protests, rallies and teach-ins. It has included several mass-arrests (from April-June), with trials still pending.

While SB 1070 is tied up in the courts, HB 2281 is scheduled to go into effect in a few weeks, Jan 1. The attacks against Ethnic/Raza Studies have been both external and internal and relentless. The new state schools superintendant has now also signaled that he will target Ethnic Studies at the University level.

And there’s more. Russell Pearce, president of the senate and author of most of these bills, has announced that his next major target is the nullification of the 14th amendment of the U.S. Constitution, which guarantees birthright citizenship to all people born in the United States. These and other forthcoming immoral “laws” either attack our [red-brown] bodies, our minds and our spirits. Under attack are our culture, history and knowledge. Not gone unnoticed is that the racial and cultural profiling of these illegitimate “laws” is Indigenous; what are under attack are peoples and cultures that have been here for thousands of years.

While we are in crisis and under siege, we are also responding by hosting a historic conference. From Dec 2-4, our community, including students and scholars from throughout the country, will more than simply tackle these issues, but will celebrate our cultures and affirm our humanity at the university, at the YWCA (reception) and at El Rio Community Center — a floricanto-poetry and song and hip hop concert. The reception will feature and pay tribute to Tucson’s Raza Studies students and educators. This will include the teacher plaintiffs of the recently filed lawsuit against the state.

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