ACTION ALERT! Support Ethnic Studies in CA Legislation

Please support ACR 34! Sample letter below.

Fact Sheet Assembly Members Ricardo Lara & Luis Alejo ACR 34
United for Ethnic Studies in California”

ASSEMBLY CONCURRENT RESOLUTION 34

BILL NUMBER: ACR 34 INTRODUCED

INTRODUCED BY Assembly Member Lara
Principal coauthor: Assembly Member Alejo

MARCH 8, 2011

Relative to ethnic studies.

LEGISLATIVE COUNSEL’S DIGEST

ACR 34, as introduced, Lara. Ethnic studies programs.

This measure would formally endorse the invaluable work of California’s ethnic studies programs, and their faculty, staff, and students. The measure would recognize the leadership provided by the beneficiaries of those programs, and would support the continuation of ethnic studies programs in California’s institutions of higher education.

Fiscal committee: no.

WHEREAS, The genesis and salience of ethnic studies as an academic discipline encompass research, scholarship, and programs that study and teach the experiences, history, culture, and heritage of African Americans, Asian Americans, Chicanas and Chicanos, Latinas and Latinos, Native Americans, and other persons of color in the United States; and

WHEREAS, Formal ethnic studies programs and departments at California’s universities are a response to a student-led movement dating back to the 1960s, including demonstrations, student protests, and hunger strikes, where students, faculty, and community members demanded university courses that were relevant to them and their communities; and

WHEREAS, The formalization of ethnic studies fostered greater demand and recognition of the need for faculty and staff from diverse communities, allowing for broader representation at California’s universities; and

WHEREAS, Ethnic studies have grown into a respected academic field, complete with professional organizations, institutionalized departments and related programs across the United States, and numerous research journals and award-winning publications; and

WHEREAS, The study of ethnic populations has grown to include comparative and international approaches to the study of ethnicity and the intersections of race, class, gender, and sexuality; and

WHEREAS, Ethnic studies acknowledges the role of America’s diverse racial and ethnic peoples as equal actors in the history of California and the United States; and

WHEREAS, California is a “majority minority” state with the largest percentage, 57 percent, of minority people in the United States; and

WHEREAS, A broader education on diverse racial and ethnic groups provides a fuller and deeper understanding of California and United States history and helps promote greater understanding among people from different backgrounds; and

WHEREAS, Ethnic studies departments, programs, and related projects promote constructive communication and collaborative efforts between different and diverse groups and encourage the demonstration of respect, understanding, appreciation, equality, and dignity; and

WHEREAS, Long-standing attacks on ethnic studies departments, programs, and related projects, and the recent increase of attacks in particular, misrepresents the intentions and serious intellectual and scholarly commitments of the ethnic studies departments; and

WHEREAS, Support for ethnic studies departments, programs, and related projects, including budgetary commitments, will allow for the continued guidance and teaching of a new generation of students who will greatly impact and positively influence California policy and government; now, therefore, be it

Resolved by the Assembly of the State of California, the Senate thereof concurring, That the Legislature of the State of California formally endorses the invaluable work of California’s ethnic studies departments, programs, and related projects, and their faculty, staff, and students; and be it further

Resolved, That the Legislature of the State of California also duly recognizes the leadership provided by the beneficiaries of these programs who have contributed greatly to the academic rigor, prominence, and distinguishing qualities of California’s colleges and universities and the vitality of other public and private institutions, including the California state government; and be it further

Resolved, That the Legislature of the State of California supports the continuation of ethnic studies departments, programs, and related projects in California’s institutions of higher education; and be it further

Resolved, That the Chief Clerk of the Assembly transmit copies of this resolution to the author for appropriate distribution.

SAMPLE LETTER

* Please print on organization’s letterhead

[DATE]

The Honorable Marty Block, Chair
Assembly Higher Education Committee
1020 N Street, Room 173
Sacramento, CA 95814

Re: Support of ACR 34 (Lara & Alejo): United for Ethnic Studies in California

Dear Assemblymember Block,

I am writing to express my strong support for ACR 34 (Lara & Alejo), which would endorse the vital work of California’s ethnic studies departments and programs, including their faculty, staff, and students.

Ethnic studies is an academic discipline which encompasses research, scholarship and programs that study and teach the experiences, history and heritage of African Americans, Asian Americans, Chicanas/os and Latinas/os, Native Americans, and other persons of color in the United States.

This resolution is long overdue. Ethnic studies programs and departments began at California’s universities as a response to a student-led movement dating back to the 1960s.  Through demonstrations, student protests, and hunger strikes, students, faculty and community members demanded and obtained university courses that were relevant to them and their communities.  Today, ethnic studies have grown into a respected academic field, with professional organizations and institutionalized departments and programs across the United States.  The study has grown to include comparative and international approaches to the study of ethnicity and the intersections of race, class, gender and sexuality.

Long-standing attacks on ethnic studies have become more prominent in recent years and misrepresent the intentions and rigor of ethnic studies.  With ACR 34, California can do more to curb these attacks by highlighting how thousands of beneficiaries of ethnic studies programs have contributed greatly to the academic rigor, prominence and distinguishing qualities of California’s colleges and universities and the vitality of other public and private institutions including the California state government.  Thank you.

Sincerely,

[Name]
[Organization]

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