Yesterday, the National Association for Chicana and Chicano Studies and 26 education and civil rights organizations filed a "friend of the court" brief in U.S. District Court in Tucson in an effort to declare Arizona's ban on Mexican American Studies unconstitutional.
“We support the Mexican American Studies Program in the Tucson Unified School District and are united in opposition to academic discrimination against Mexican American and Ethnic Studies. This respected field of study has been unjustly targeted and demonized by Arizona authorities, which is strangling the pursuit of a comprehensive education and silencing the perspective of Mexican Americans and their cultural background," said NACCS past chair Devon Peña in a press release sent out yesterday.
"This law has resulted in censorship of important books and eliminated a program with proven academic success for traditionally neglected students.”
Tucson attorney Vince Rabago is the lawyer representing the organizations said the state is arguing that states rights trump the constitution and allow "them to restrict curriculum in a discriminatory manner against Mexican Americans. This is comparable to the days after desegregation where states tried to restrict efforts to reach equality. These organizations from across the country support the bedrock principles of Equal Protection and the First Amendment in an academic context."
The brief was filed in Acosta v. Huppenthal, CV-10-623-TUC- AWT, a case in which students, represented by Tucson attorney Richard Martinez, are challenging the law. Read the brief here. Go here to read the press release, and list of NACCS members who support MAS.