“[Ethnic Studies] is necessary to bridge the growing divide, and counter the racial and ethnic fear and hatred being sowed by the forces of ignorance and inequality.” ~ 1969 Third World Liberation Front Strikers & Founders of Ethnic Studies
What is Ethnic Studies?
Fifty years ago, members of the Black Student Union (BSU) and Third World Liberation Front (TWLF) conducted the longest student strike in US history to open up educational institutions to the histories, cultures, and communities of indigenous and racially oppressed peoples. Out of this historic strike emerged Ethnic Studies, a pedagogy of educational self-determination.
As part of a rich ethnic studies curriculum, Arab American studies provides positive representation and empowers Arab and Muslim youth by teaching their histories and their communities’ struggles for social and economic justice. Arab American studies is also an important piece of building solidarity among communities of color. It is a critical intervention in our schools to combat the racism, Islamophobia, and discrimination that our communities face every day. The neglect of Arab Americans in California public education is a consequence of the ongoing war on our people and homelands globally.
Why is the Curriculum Under Attack?
Right-wing forces and outside interest groups have challenged the integrity of the curriculum from the beginning. Topics such as the centrality of Palestine to continued struggles for justice have triggered backlash and now, they are attacking the inclusion of Arab-American Studies as a part of the curriculum. This process has highlighted the Islamophobia confronting Arabs and Muslims every day – even our histories are perceived as a threat!
Join The Fight to Save Arab American Studies
The Coalition to Save Arab American Studies is a group of educators, students, scholars, community based organizations, and advocates across the state who have come together to support ethnic studies and save Arab American Studies in California.
We are mobilizing our communities and allied organizations to ensure that the California Department Education includes Arab American studies in the rich and authentic ethnic studies that the founders of ethnic studies envisioned, and that Palestine is central. The next IQC meeting is November 18/19. Look for updates on submitting public comment and attending the virtual meeting. Defend Ethnic Studies and Save Arab American Studies!
For ways to get involved in the campaign, take a look at our Take Action page!