Event: Mi Otro Yo

This weekend, Shot in the Dark Cafe will be showing the film short Mi Otro Yo about the assault on Raza Studies in Tuscon and why Raza Studies is so important to students of any ethnic or racial background. As I have posted about regularly here, Raza Studies has been targeted by members of the State Government of Arizona as somehow “un-American.” And there is a concerted effort to shut it down. (You can learn more about the process of making the movie here and here; and if you cannot be in AZ this weekend, you can watch the short film here.) It is truly an inspiring film about the power of decolonized pedagogy and its import in student success.

The film will be showing as part of a larger event, Cafe Cultura, which will begin with an art exhibit of Marisol Badilla’s work and end with an open mic and student testimonies about what Raza Studies has meant/ means to them. Event starts 6pm Friday Aug 22.

More Info on Raza Studies:

Augustine F. Romero, senior academic director for ethnic studies, & Sean Arce, interim director of Mexican-American/raza studies, at Tucson Unified School District explained the underlining teaching philosophy in Raza Studies like this:

One of the primary tenets within our classroom is “tu eres mi otro yo,” which translates to “you are my other me.” In essence, our students understand that actions of justice and equality are actions toward a better place for all people. Moreover, they understand that any harm that is done to another is harm that they do to themselves.

 

The reciprocal is love – the love that they offer others is love that they place upon themselves.

. . .

Moreover, we view this as a true American project in that our students and teachers are engaging in a justice-based praxis.

The curriculum itself includes a PAR component in the Junior year, hopefully preparing students for advanced decolonized research practices in their futures. The course material throughout is also college prep and college level. The reasoning was explained as follows:

When the needs of less academically successful students are trying to be met, the common belief is that these students should be offered remedial-level courses and/or materials. In contrary, we offer students an advanced curriculum that is relevant to their realities, responsive to their needs and aligned to the state standards.

Not only does the program combat tracking that often labels youth with extra barriers or disengagement due to in-school failures of cultural competency to task with such a response, it also addresses issues of racism and inequality head on:

In regards to issues of the race and racism within our curriculum and our pedagogy, we believe that it is critical for our students to identify, name and offer remedies to these and other forms of injustice that plague our society.

That is some powerful pedagogy. And it is preparing students for the kind of intense work they will have to at most colleges both with regards to their social interactions and their educations.

 

Please show your support by going to the screening.

—-

quotes come from Romero & Arce (Aug. 10, 2008 ) “Critics Casting Dishonest Light on Raza Studies” in The Arizona Republic.
images “Crystal” and “Lelani” interviewees for Mi Otro Yo. unattributed.

 

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