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California Department of Education
News Release
California Department of Education
News Release
Release: #20-57
July 14, 2020
Contact: Communications
Phone: 916-319-0818

State Superintendent Tony Thurmond Hosts Virtual Classroom Session on Chicano Latino Studies with Civil Rights Icon Dolores Huerta

SACRAMENTO—State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tony Thurmond today hosted the second in a series of virtual classroom sessions about ethnic studies. Guests included students from throughout California, Assemblymember Jose Medina, and civil rights icon Dolores Huerta, the labor leader and civil rights activist who, along with Cesar Chavez, co-founded the National Farmworkers Association.

Today’s event focused on the importance of ethnic studies in general, the history of Chicano Latino Studies, plus a lesson and activity within the discipline of Chicano Latino Studies, one of the four foundational groups of ethnic studies. An archived broadcast can be found on the California Department of Education (CDE) Facebook page External link opens in new window or tab..

As the CDE prepares to submit a revised Ethnic Studies Model Curriculum for public review, this series will help students, educators, and families familiarize themselves with the core areas of ethnic studies, including how different groups have struggled and worked together, as well as key concepts such as equality, justice, race, ethnicity, and indigeneity.

“We've heard from students from around the state who are realizing the power of seeing themselves reflected in a curriculum, and how that can empower them to get more active in their classrooms and their communities,” said Thurmond. “We’re happy to now be in the position of creating an ethnic studies framework that can inspire all students to create positive changes for themselves, their communities, and the world.”

During Tuesday’s virtual classroom, students and members of student groups from the Chicano Latino Youth Leadership Project, the Puente Project, and M.E.Ch.A.(Movimiento Estudiantil Chicanx de Aztlán; "Chicanx Student Movement of Aztlán") heard the personal account of a California leader who’s already in history books nationwide. Dolores Huerta shared her personal story, which included organizing and empowering others around her to fight for better working conditions for farmworkers. She also participated in a robust question-and-answer session that included topics such as civic engagement, organizing around a cause, and finding a personal voice while advocating for your rights. In his closing remarks, State Superintendent Thurmond also offered to provide reading materials on Chicano Latino Studies to the first 100 students who reach out.

This series of virtual classroom sessions continues this month weekly through July 28. It focuses on all four foundational groups of ethnic studies: Africana Studies, Asian American Studies, Chicano Latino Studies, and Native American Studies. The series features prominent leaders and educators from each discipline to provide a lecture. All events in the series will be broadcast on the CDE Facebook page External link opens in new window or tab.. The remaining two events are as follows:

  • Tuesday, July 21, 3 p.m. to 4:30 p.m.: Asian American Studies with Karen Korematsu, educator, civil rights advocate, and daughter of late civil rights icon Fred Korematsu.
Tuesday, July 28, 2 p.m. to 3:30 p.m.: Native American Studies with Assemblymember James C. Ramos, co-founder of the San Manuel Band of Mission Indians’ Cultural Awareness Program and director of the California Indian Cultural Awareness Conference at California State University, San Bernardino.

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Tony Thurmond — State Superintendent of Public Instruction
Communications Division, Room 5602, 916-319-0818, Fax 916-319-0100

Last Reviewed: Friday, June 16, 2023
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