Raul Cardona and I received a message from Sean Arce Monday evening after the first day of the second week of the Mexican American Studies trial, officially known as Acosta et al. vs. Huppenthal et al. Essentially the message was something like, "are you two coming to Tucson? We need gente in the courtroom." Raul and I handled our LA business, like making sure Mateo didn't miss his baseball game, and Tuesday night we headed to Tucson. (Thank you little sister Tonantzin Carrasco Lopez and son Joseph Carrasco for watching over the kiddos!) We have given a couple of days of our lives to support them in court but they have been going through this since circa 2010 when the former State of Arizona Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Horne began his targeted campaign and repression AND then passed the torch to successor John Huppenthal BUT continued the Nazi-like censorship as overseer via his role as Attorney General.
Anywho! My courtroom observations that I want to share so far are the following. There are some amazing people that we know of that have spent hours in the courtroom as a gesture of support and solidarity, such as Enrique Vega, Cesar Cruz, Angela Valenzuela, Johnavalos Rios, Elias Serna, Maria Larios-Horton, Jose del Barrio, Veronica Valadez, Santos Zuñiga, Gina Perez, and so many others who were here week one and now week two of the trial! Although, the list of folks is powerful, in reality it's rather short when you think of the vast implications of this trial; Ethnic Studies is on trial at the Federal level. I have been witnessing individuals; powerful, amazing, beautiful people sitting for hours on end in the monotonous courtroom. But the courtroom is seldom filled to capacity.
It profoundly hit me for the first time today that this sets a precedent for all Ethnic Studies at the federal level! If we lose, we all lose; our children, our communities, our ancestor's legacy, and yes all the scholars who work in institutions that offer Ethnic Studies as a course of study will lose as well. If we win, then it means that Judge Tashima objectively deliberated using the powerful expert testimony of the witnesses and expert witnesses on behalf of Acosta et al. and the MAS program. Although, I haven't been in the courtroom for a majority of the trial what I have witnessed is summed up by the following. We have smart, logical and data driven analyses of dope ass scholars on our side; they have illogical, lying racists who do not know how to build a case to save their lives on their side. They get busted lying, their own expert witness called the increased graduation, GPA, and test scores of MAS students "remarkable," and their lawyers lose their train of thought when trying to build a case. We've been sitting their listening to this joke of a defense and every five minutes I lean over to Raul and whisper "boom!" If we lose, the only logical rationale that any objective human being with at least a 3rd grade intellect can draw is, they are acting with racial animus and "yes" the State of Arizona hates Mexicans, or rather, they fear us. They don't want increased test scores and college-going rates! It scares the shit out of them.
And lastly, another observation I want to share with my friends and familia. We have an amazing legal team of Ivy League attorneys who are kicking legal booty on behalf of our epistemologies, histories, legacies, ancestors and semillas! And guess what, they are defending our programs on a PRO BONO basis! Some of them have flown to Tucson from other states to be legal warriors for our people! So their example reminds me that I cannot just be a Facebook guerrera! I need to put my words into action as best as my potential allows! So back to East Los tomorrow... where to begin! It's hard to narrow down the scope of efforts to just one or several causes when the overarching hegemonic power structures are to blame for everything from Monsanto GMO corn TO repression and government sponsored murder in Nochixtlan TO the war against Ethnic Studies in general and Raza Studies in particular TO French Fashion Fuckers copyrighting Oaxacan motifs TO the privatization of education via charter schools TO the construction of the Keystone Pipeline on what's left of native controlled land TO gentrification in Boyle Heights and across Los Angeles TO the school-to-prison pipeline TO the non-profit and military Industrial complexes TO police violence against black/brown/native people ....... and the countless other international catastrophes that we must all resist and fight against.