05 May 2008

What's going on??Senate Bill 1108

Is this my America??

AZ Senate Bill 1108

The bill specifically aims to disband African-American, Pan-Asian, Native American, and Mexican-American/Raza Studies programs at the high school, community college, and university levels in the state of Arizona. Senate Bill 1108 would also discourage teachers who “overtly encourage dissent” from Western values such as capitalism.
“This bill basically says, ‘You’re here. Adopt American values,’” State Rep. John Kavanagh, a Republican, told The Arizona Republic. “‘If you want a different culture, then fine, go back to that culture,’” he said.

It is wonderful how much time good people spend fighting the devil. If they would only expend the same amount of energy loving their fellow men, the devil would die in his own tracks of ennui. Helen Keller

I was introduced to this issue while in attendance at the NALAC Conference a week ago.
I sat in a room of artists,activists,educators,and amazing people who are working to expand awareness in these times. My jaw dropped as I comprehended the reality of this bill's overt racism. I feel this shock wave of disbelief. I study the image of State Rep. John Kavanagh and can hardly believe he is a voice representing my state. I think of all the Mexican, Navajo, Hopi elders I
have known through the portraits of my father and the faces and the teachers I have known who taught me of the diverse history of the world, my country and state. They allowed me to explore different views of history through the perspective of the Native Americans; They took us to see many of the ancient sites of the numerous tribes who lived here hundreds of years ago,
we grew up knowing about the Buffalo Soldiers; How would my perception of America be changed if I were not to hold the value of all the diversity of these peoples and who are intricately woven into this rich fabric called AMERICA? Where did State Rep. Joh Kavanagh come from to propose such a blatantly fascist bill????

But there is HOPE; I met Dosvatos.com film makers Eren McGinnis, and partner Director Ari Luis Palos, Mexican-American filmmakers at the NALAC conference. I have been inspired by the diversity of their film repertoire of American stories; The Southern spirituals of the African history and the story of Mexican immigrants.
So rich, so interconnected to the earth, spirit, the stories and legacies beyond borders, countries; Africa, Mexico; It all meets here. I love my America for all it's cultural diverse history. I love my tortillas and chile, I love eating sushi and fry bread and mutton stew. I love Kung Pao Chicken and Chinese paper lanterns. I love Elvis and the Dali Lama, and Guadalupe I am aware of the dream of Dr. Martin Luther King and I support Obama for representing a true America where diversity is our asset and the voices of the people represent many and sound as one.

Related sites and links: Things to think about.
Declaration of Policy: WGBH Lab; The DosVatos reel
Delete the Border.org

No comments: