exp“[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.

  

Why is Ethnic Studies Important for Arab and Muslim Youth?
Ethnic Studies provides positive representation of our community and empowers Arab and Muslim youth by teaching not only their own histories, but also their communities’ struggles for social and economic justice, as well as how to build solidarity with other 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?
For the past year, the California Department of Education (CDE) has been in the process of drafting and finalizing a statewide Ethnic Studies curriculum — known as the AB2016 CA Ethnic Studies Model Curriculum (ESMC) — that would be implemented in grades 7-12 across California. 


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! 

What is in the curriculum?
View an outline here of the Arab American studies curriculum, as it was developed by the original ESMC advisory committee and Arab American scholars and teachers. That content has now been eliminated. Watch this webinar for expert analysis on the revisions.

Join The Fight to Save Arab American Studies

The Coalition to Defend 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 now mobilizing our communities and allied organizations to submit Public Comment to the CDE to ensure Arab American histories are present and Palestine is central. Mobilize your community to the IQC meeting on August 13 to Defend Ethnic Studies and Save Arab American Studies!

For ways to get involved in the campaign, take a look at our Take Action page!