Things That Matter

Judge Rules Arizona Educators Were Discriminating Against Mexican-American Studies

Twitter/@HighTechAztec, @ZinnEdProject

Yesterday, U.S. District Judge A. Wallace Tashima ruled that students in Arizona had a constitutional right to have Mexican-American studies as part of their curriculum. That’s right, Judge Tashima ruled that a ban against Mexican-American studies, imposed by former state education leaders Tom Horne and John Huppenthal, was racist and fueled by their politics.

The ruling is a win for students in Arizona, including Mexican-American students denied an education about their own history and culture.

“Additional evidence shows that defendants were pursuing these discriminatory ends in order to make political gains. Horne and Huppenthal repeatedly pointed to their efforts against the MAS program in their respective 2011 political campaigns, including in speeches and radio advertisements. The issue was a political boon to the candidates,” Tashima wrote.

The case against Mexican-American studies (MAS) first began in 2012, after the Tucson Unified School District said the Mexican-American studies program was teaching students that white people were oppressive to minorities.

Students and teachers sued, saying it was their First Amendment right to have this program as part of their curriculum. The Huffington Post notes that lawyers for the plaintiffs claimed Arizona Republicans “violated the equal protection clause of the 14th Amendment” because they only targeted Mexican-American studies (MAS) classes in one Latino-heavy district.

As news of the verdict came out, people on Twitter celebrated the victory.

Curtis Acosta, one of the teachers banned from teaching MAS in his classrooms, tweeted “Justicia!”

We won on all points,” Richard Martinez, one of six lawyers defending the students, said to The Huffington Post. “It speaks to the importance of the judiciary and protecting everyone against racial discrimination.”

Horne, one of the defendants who claimed the MAS program taught students hatred of white people, said this ruling “divides students by race and promotes ethnic chauvinism.” He added: “[I]t is a fundamental American ideal that we are all individuals, entitled to be judged by our knowledge and character, and not by what race we happen to have been born into,” Horne said in a statement, according to ABC News.

Huppenthal, the other defendant in the case, told ABC News that he was “not surprised by the ruling” and that it was “meaningless because the law is not likely to be enforced in the future.”

“The concern about what was going on in those classes was very real,” Huppenthal said, and added that he’s worried if “they crank up all that stuff of teaching students that Caucasians are oppressors of Hispanics.”

Whether a new MAS program will be implemented is unknown, but for now, people will celebrate this victory.

Click here to read Judge Tashima’s ruling.

READ: This Mexican-American Teacher Has Been Put On Leave For Comparing Trump To Hitler

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It’s 2019 In The US And A Man Shouted That He Is A KKK Member While Spraying A Black Teen With A Hose

Things That Matter

It’s 2019 In The US And A Man Shouted That He Is A KKK Member While Spraying A Black Teen With A Hose

Tina Barber / Glenn Nicodemus / Facebook

It’s 2019 in the U.S., and that looks like a lot like an updated version of 1919 America: A Black teenager trying to do what’s right and forced to keep his composure and walk away as a KKK member sprays him with a hose. Except, in 2019, there is video footage to prove it all happened. 

The events leading up to the time of the video are just as important as the event itself. The 14-year-old boy’s mother, Christina Poles, witnessed and recorded the incident, and posted it to her Facebook page. Poles alleges that the 50-year-old white man involved, Glen Nicodemus, was taking photos of children at Lyon Park in East Rochester before he got into an altercation with her son.

In the video, you hear Nicodemus yell at the Black teen, “I’m a Ku Klux Klan member and you shouldn’t be f**king with the Klan.”

Credit: Tina Barber / Facebook

Then, you hear Poles begin to frantically yell, “Hey, hey, [name], come here!” Later, Poles would tell Rochester First that, “It was like a scene out of the 60s. You don’t see stuff like that in 2019.”

“I don’t give a f***,” the teen yells back at Nicodemus as he walks toward his house for the hose.

Credit: Tina Barber / Facebook

“Tell your Klan, pull up,” the teenager responds. Instead, Nicodemus reaches for the hose in front of his house and begins spraying him at a distance. Since the video has gone viral on social media, folks are making dark jokes about what feels like a dark time. “One Of Trump’s Very Fine Klansman. Heil Trump!,” tweets one person. “Didn’t we see this movie before in black and white newsreels,” tweets another.

The teenager is the one who chooses to disengage in the confrontation.

Credit: Tina Barber / Facebook

Of course, he’s pissed. A neighbor just told him the reason that he shouldn’t confront him about taking photos of children at the park is because of race differences. The teenager is Black and the older man is a white Ku Klux Klan member. Nicodemus explicitly threatened him with the force of the Klan for confronting him. As the teenager walks away, he lists profanities and says, “I’ll spit in your grave, too.”

The Poles’ family immediately called the police and filed a report.

Credit: Tina Barber / Facebook

“I can say that I’m proud of my 14-year-old son for being the bigger man and not reacting,” Poles wrote in the Facebook post. “I’m not sure I would have stayed this calm.” That said, she said that the incident has caused her “to question my decision to move my kids out to this town.”

Poles said that Nicodemus had already been aggressive with them at the park, and reignited the verbal altercation as they walked home past his house.

Credit: Tina Barber / Facebook

The video is just the second act of the confrontation. The first act started at the park when Nicodemus started “flipping them off.” Poles told Rochester First that all her son did was respond to an already strange scenario. “My son said something along the lines of ‘why do you keep flipping us off,’ said some other profanities I wish he hadn’t.”

Poles thinks that Nicodemus should be embarrassed and needs to be held accountable for his actions.

According to Poles, the cops first got involved when they asked Nicodemus to leave the park. 

Credit: Glenn Nicodemus / Facebook

“Mind you this was after he was at the park taking pictures of the girls. After the cops told him to leave them alone he kept coming to the park flicking them off,” reads a Facebook post. Poles also said that it wasn’t the first time he sprayed her son with a hose, and that police had to order Nicodemus to stop targeting the Poles’ family.

Today, Nicodemus was arraigned and charged with second-degree harassment.

Credit: Glenn Nicodemus / Facebook

That said since Poles took the video to social media, and more folks seem to care that an alleged KKK member is threatening teenage boys with the N-word and spraying water at their heads without their consent, the police is looking into it further once again. The police assured Poles that the man would be arrested, and two days later, he showed up to the court hearing that would charge him with harassment.

East Rochester Police Chief Steve Clancy told the New York Daily News that, “the judge also issued an order of protection for the victim.”

READ: A Viciously Racist Video Has Gone Viral In Which Two Girls Call For The Return Of Slavery And The KKK

It Turns Out The Great Woman Behind Julian Castro Is His Mother, A Woman Who Has Long Carried The Fight For Latinos

Things That Matter

It Turns Out The Great Woman Behind Julian Castro Is His Mother, A Woman Who Has Long Carried The Fight For Latinos

When discussing today’s volatile state of our country, the racism, the violence, the injustice, people often say “it’s never been this bad.”

How do we truly know for sure that something we are experiencing today, as a minority, as Latinos, is something, unlike anything previous generations have experienced before. We certainly cannot tell from history books mainly because history books often omit the Latino experience altogether. We sometimes only have oral histories to rely on. The stories elder Latinos share with us about what life was like in the past, before social media, before cell phones, and before the media ever reported about injustices against our community. 

Those special individuals are typically our grandparents, tias, la vecina, and more importantly activists that continue to fight for the cause today. Recently presidential candidate, Julian Castro said that he stands on his important platforms today primarily because of his mother Rosie. 

As a lifelong Texan, Rosie said the racism in 2019 is more evil than anything she has ever seen.

Credit: Instagram/@TexasMonthly

In an interview with NBC News, Rosie who’s not only grown up in Texas but has also worked her adult life as an activist for Latinos said that she knows racism well because she has lived through it her entire life but what is happening today is extremely different from the past. 

“When I was in the movement, I knew the racism was out there and it was institutional. This kind of racism is different,” she said to the network. “That rhetoric has gone on for three years now, and I think we’ve all seen the rise of the hate groups and then even the rise of just ordinary people in a store that feel empowered to say something to a person who is speaking Spanish or is dark-skinned.”

Rosie said the racist words from President Donald Trump has single-handly inspired white supremacists to target Latinos. 

Credit: Twitter/@thehill

She said he is the catalyst to our current crisis.

Rosie said that when Trump first got elected she immediately felt like she was back in time, as if it were the ’60s all over again, but adds that this time it feels much worse. She said back then, President Nixon and California Governor Ronald Reagan had a campaign against Latinos too. However, it does not compare to the injustices against Latinos today. She points out that Trump claims to be a Christian yet can spew such vile words. “He’s just allowed that to become a blatant racist part of our reality,” Rosie said. 

As a former community organizer in the ’60s and ’70s, Rosie said Latinos had a mission to work at making the country a better place.

Credit: Instagram/@TexasMonthly

Now, Rosie said that Latinos are fighting for their lives. She also attributes a huge difference between then now on gun violence. Children today are afraid to go to school because mass shootings happen so frequently. 

Her son has always had a strong position against guns. He has spoken about it extensively during his presidential campaigning. Julian has said he will push for renewing the assault weapons ban, as well as limiting high-capacity magazines and, naturally, requiring background checks.

One thing that is inspiring Rosie — aside from her son running for president — is that so many organizations today are rising up to fight for equality and against racism.

Credit: Instagram/@denisemhdz

Rosie said the organizations she sees today does remind her of her time as an activist back in the day. While the injustices and crimes against Latinos is a stark difference, one thing that feels familiar is the energy from young Latinos rising together. 

Rosie has long been credited for influencing her sons’ work as public servants, to fight for Latinos and all people in the U.S. 

Credit: Instagram/@truth_purpose

Both Julian and Joaquin had attributed their rise in politics to their mother. It was her work as an activist and in education that made them both want to strive to make the United States a better place to live. 

In 2012, Julian gave his now-famous keynote address at the Democratic National Convention where he introduced then-President Barack Obama. In a few words, Julian not only paid tribute to the women in his life but also the American Dream that they worked so hard for. 

“My grandmother never owned a house,” Julian said back then. “She cleaned other people’s houses so she could afford to rent her own. But she saw her daughter become the first in her family to graduate from college. And my mother fought hard for civil rights so that instead of a mop, I could hold this microphone.”

It is because of women like Rosie that we have a platform to stand on as well. 

READ: Julián Castro Walked Onstage To Selena, Struggles With Spanish, And Other Ways He Lives The Latino Experience On The Campaign Trail

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