February 17th | Week in Review

2017-02-17-WWW-Image-01.png¡Hola a todos! I hope everyone had a wonderful Valentine’s Day. Below are numerous resources that touch on identity, family, and testimony. I know I’ve shared a lot, but there were just so many to choose from this week! I hope these are of use to everyone. Have a wonderful weekend.

Rethinking Schools shared Tackling the Headlines: Teaching Humanity and History. One of the main takeaways: “The best antidote to Trump’s xenophobia, racism, misogyny, and fossil-fuel soaked future is critical thinking.”

– Our Lee & Low Books friends shared Valentine’s Day Children’s Books that Celebrate Familial Love. Even if it is no longer Valentine’s Day, it is important to stress the value of familial love. It’s a theme we’re talking about all month long.

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¡Mira, Look!: Separate Is Never Equal: Sylvia Mendez and Her Family’s Fight for Desegregation

Separate is Never EqualIn light of Black History Month, with a film like Selma in theaters and massive protests against racial profiling occurring across the country, we here at Vamos feel it is a good time for educators to have their students reflect upon civil rights achievements of the past in order to take lessons learned from the successes and apply them to ongoing struggles of today.

Many of you, I’m sure, have heard of Brown v. Board of Education, the landmark Supreme Court case that outlawed segregation of public schools. What you may not know is that seven years before a case involving the segregation of Mexican-American students in California laid the groundwork for that significant decision. The case, Mendez v. Westminster, is brought back to life through the story and illustrations of Duncan Tonatiuh in his children’s book Separate Is Never Equal: Sylvia Mendez and Her Family’s Fight for Desegregation. And we cannot recommend it highly enough.

If our applause isn’t loud enough, then we’ll let others convince you. Just recently, the book was recognized as a 2015 Pura Belpré Illustrator Honor Book and as a Tomás Rivera Mexican-American Award for Younger Readers.

Here is an excerpt from Kirkus:Mexican Schhol

Most associate the fight for school integration with the landmark case of Brown v. Board of Education. However, seven years earlier, Mexican-American students in California saw an end to discrimination there. The little girl at the center of that case, Sylvia Mendez, was the daughter of parents who looked forward to sending her to the school near their newly leased farm. When her aunt attempted to register the family children, they were directed to the “Mexican school,” despite proficiency in English and citizenship. No one could explain to Mr. Mendez why his children were not allowed to attend the better-appointed school nearby. Despite the reluctance of many fellow Mexican-Americans to cause “problems,” he filed a suit, receiving the support of numerous civil rights organizations. Tonatiuh masterfully combines text and folk-inspired art to add an important piece to the mosaic of U.S. civil rights history.

The story takes placeTrial over the period of three years. It begins with Sylvia being bullied on her first day as an integrated student and shoots back in time to tell the story of how hard her family fought to get her to that point. The story invaluably outlines the legal process of civil rights cases, taking us through each step that the Mendez family went through, even including trial scene dialogue taken directly from court transcripts. Continue reading

¡Mira Look!: Books for Teaching Civil Rights

“I never thought in terms of fear, I thought in terms of justice.” –Emma Tenayuca,

--From Flickr user Rich (Sparky_R); used under Creative Commons

–From Flickr user Rich (Sparky_R); used under Creative Commons

As promised, today I want to provide you some great book titles to teach about Civil Rights in your classroom. I’m orienting this post much like the last in which I give you small snippets of information about a few resources so you can quickly decide which resources to further investigate for your classroom. Continue reading

WWW: Latinos & Black History Month

by: Xinem http://www.flickr.com/photos/christinestephens/3953165390/

by: Xinem flickr creative commons     http://www.flickr.com/photos/christinestephens/3953165390/

For the next few weeks, my WWW posts will focus on resources that provide ideas to teach Black History Month through a Latino lens. What I mean by that is two-fold:

1) Focusing on Latino peoples, cultures and experiences that are also centered on an African identity and history. Afro-Caribbean cultures — from Cuba, Puerto Rico, the Dominican Republic, Haiti, and numerous other Caribbean islands —  have a deep history in helping to shape Afro-Latino identity, society, culture, history and tradition. Yet, even when the US has designated a special month for celebrating Black History, these cultures are largely left out of this dialogue. Black History Month generally focuses on the contribution of African-Americans, as well it should, as they themselves are largely left out of cultural studies and discourse to the detriment of all. However, what about the experiences of Afro- Puerto Ricans/Cubans//Dominicans/Haitians who also identify as estado unidenses (Americans)? Their history is equally important and should be researched and brought into our classroom discussions. Continue reading