Arizona’s ethnic studies ban may have shut down Tucson’s Mexican American Studies classes. But this summer in the southern Arizona city, class is in session. Educators are holding weekend community forums to educate the city about the now-banned ethnic studies courses.
It’s just one component of what’s being called the Tucson Freedom Summer, a month of events geared toward engaging Tucson to fight back against the law and revive the program it targeted. The idea for a month of civic engagement and community awareness activities was borne out of the need to keep the fight alive. Tucson Unified shut down the Mexican American Studies program in January, and since then, the resistance has been multi-pronged and endlessly creative. But as educators remain embroiled in a legal fight to challenge HB 2281, the community needed to come together to find other ways to resist.
“The emphasis this summer is on building community,” said Ernesto Mireles, an adjunct professor from Michigan State University and the Tucson Freedom Summer’s primary organizer. “They’ve been through a period of really militant direct action to fight back against the ban. The push is to keep the whole movement going.”