May 18, 2010
National MEChA to Protest Arizona's SB 1070, HB 2281 and the Privatization of Higher Education
For Immediate Release
Contact: Movimiento Estudiantil Chicana/o de Aztlán de University of Washington, firstname.lastname@example.org
National Movimiento Estudiantil Chicano de Aztlán (MEChA) to Protest Arizonaâs HB 1070 and SB 2281 and the privatization of higher education at the University of Washington on May 28th 2010.
SEATTLE -- National Movimiento Estudiantil Chicano de Aztlán (MEChA) and MEChA de UW will be having an action on May 28th, 2010 from 2-5pm at the University of Washington during the National MEChA Conference to demand an accessible education system that does not exploit students, immigrants, first generation college students, workers and our communidad!
MEChA de UW would like you all to recognize that the action will be taking place on occupied Duwamish land. We stand in solidarity with all displaced peoples and we join the boycott on the State of Arizona for its violations of human and education rights!
MEChA de UW and National MEChA condemn the recent actions by the legislators and governor of Arizona regarding both SB 1070 and HB 2281. The removal of Ethnic Studies and the racial profiling in Arizona further disefranchises people of color by refusing to acknowledge the historical impacts of racial and social inequalities in our education and immigration systems. We recognize that the Universities DO NOT belong to legislators or Board of Regents; rather they belong to the people and OUR community! As college students and high school students, students of color, workers, immigrant and social justice organizations, we came together to organize this urgent action.
In order to keep our universities more accessible and public, we demand low-tuition and more financial aid in particular for undocumented students, low-income students, students of color, mujeres/womyn, joteria/queer/trans comunidad, first generation college students, and students with disabilities. OUR EDUCATION should not reflect that of the dominant* oppressive system, wealthy, and elitist societies that push and deny our communities an accessible education! When education is inaccessible, it only reflects the views of the dominant racial, wealthy, and elitist class that can afford access. This creates a cycle that further pushes and denies our people an education.
The current budget cuts target all low-income students at the University of Washington, which also includes Washington's HB 1079 students. As the tuition increases and the financial support of Ethnic Studies and Women Studies decreases, the impact of the budget cuts drastically affects undocumented youth and undocumented immigrants because of the lack of financial and legal support for both our departments and communities. WE would like to emphasize that the Husky promise should not be a promise with limitations, and must include HB 1079 students, because all people should have the same access to an affordable and just education!
As students demanding equal rights for all peoples, we are concerned about the recent actions in the State of Arizona with SB 1070, the removal of Ethnic Studies with HB 2281 and the impact these laws will have on people of color and displaced peoples in the United States. We feel there must be immediate action by the UW Board of Regents, UW President, Washington State legislators, and Governor Gregoire to ensure the full protection of the University of Washington Ethnic Studies and Women Studies Departments from such racist and prejudiced laws that do not recognize the struggles and racial, social, and gender inequalities in the United States. Education must be representative of ALL our communities and serve as a source of knowledge and empowerment that reflects all our histories, thus breaking down barriers by allowing us to learn about all peoples.
Students of Color and underrepresented students do not feel safe when Ethnic Studies departments are attacked and we want the University of Washington to make a commitment to FULLY PROTECT the Department of Ethnic Studies and Women Studies from ever being in a position of elimination. Therefore, we also demand that the UW administration immediately allocate more funds and services to the departments and we need the administration and Board of Regents to ensure us that racism, xenophobia, etc will not be tolerated on our campus.
We must unite AS A COMMUNITY to end the privatization of our education and make the educational system accessible to ALL! EDUCATION IS A HUMAN RIGHT, therefore we strongly believe that the struggles of students, immigrants, workers, and our communities are interlinked to ending the privatization of institutions of higher education. By fully funding and supporting Ethnic Studies and Women Studies, UW will make a commitment to moving towards a more accessible education system where students will continue learning a new critical perspective and ways of thinking about anti-oppression and anti-racist education for all peoples regardless of social, racial, gender, and sexual orientation backgrounds. Therefore as students, workers, community members:
WE DEMAND an equal access and affordable education! We want OUR universities and colleges to be affordable and accessible to undocumented immigrants, first generation college students, low-income students, people of color, and other marginalized communities!
WE DEMAND our legislators to prioritize Pre-K, K-12 Education and Higher Education, rather than investing in military recruitment, prisons, and detention centers in our neighborhoods!
WE DEMAND an END to Budget Cuts and Layoffs of custodians and other immigrant workers on our campuses.
WE DEMAND the UW to fully protect and increase funding for the Department of Ethnic Studies. Our university should not tolerate xenophobia, racism, racial profiling, and the elimination of Ethnic Studies in Arizona.
WE DEMAND the University of Washington, King County, and the State of Washington immediately boycott any business and/or contracts with the State of Arizona until both SB 1070 and HB 2281 are repealed! We want an Immigration Reform and education system that is just and respectful of all peoples.
As a result of the recent actions of the State of Arizona and due to the ongoing privatization of our education system, we are calling for immediate action and invite you all to join us at the National MEChA Action that will be taking place on Friday, May 28, 2010 at 2-5pm at the University of Washington Seattle Campus, Red-Square. For clarification and additional information, direct all queries to our press contact Maria L. Guillen Valdovinos at email@example.com and 206.356.3500.
MEChA de University of Washington
*We define dominant oppressive systems as: Powers that beâ, Privilege Class, Age, Race, gender privilege. Assimilative Oppressors, Sexism, Homophobia, Immigration/ documentation status, Colonialism, ableism.