Norma Gonzalez has taught Mexican American Studies at the Tucson Unified School District for eight years. She has been a teacher at TUSD for 18 years.

Tucson Teacher’s Campaign Against Book Ban Gains Support

ICTMN Staff
1/25/12

“Don't lock up knowledge, return books to students now!” is what one Tucson teacher is asking of the Tucson Unified School Board.

“I am a teacher in TUSD [Tucson Unified School District]--I used to teach a class on culture, but now I cannot. My students are angry and confused because they see the ban for what it is: discriminatory. The other day, I broke down in front of my class. They are taking away our heritage!” notes ethnic studies teacher Norma Gonzalez on the petition against the Tucson Unified School Board that she started on Change.org eight days ago.

More than 10,000 people have joined her in her quest to get the books back. And most of these signatures happened in just one day. Yesterday morning, she had gotten 1,500 signatures, by 4 p.m. it was 6,055. And just 10 minutes after that, the total had climbed to 6,295. This morning, the number had reached 10,799. And it keeps going up.

Gonzalez said the amount of support her petition has gained "gives me great hope with the national concern about an issue that attacks our democracy. This is evidence that our nation is protecting the principals in our constitution."

Why is her petition important? “Before the ban, I taught my students that, regardless of where you come from, you deserve respect and should love who you are,” she says on the petition website. “Now, I can't teach that. Teachers are censored in class and can't teach anything that the board believes has to deal with ‘race or oppression.’”

She notes four books that have been boxed up and taken away on the petition site, including Occupied America: A History of Chicanos, Critical Race Theory, Shakespeare’s The Tempest, Chicano!: the History of the Mexican American Civil Rights Movement.

Petition signer Michael Moore said he signed her petition because “We are educated by what we witness, for good or ill. Congratulations gentlemen. You have just become a memorable chapter in the education of TUSD's kids. And a dark chapter in the history of domestic bigotry.”

To join Gonzalez, sign the petition at Change.org.

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