Category Archives: Accion

Bloggers Talk on Politics Done Right

Politics `Done Right (Bloggers)

Thanks to Egberto Willies, I’ll be joining him, Kuff, Katherine from BOR, and Tiffany from Liberal America tonight on KPFT 90.1 for an episode of Politics Done Right.

Tune in Monday 9:00 PM on KPFT 90.1 FM (Houston Area)

Livestreamhttp://KPFT.org (Entire USA) – Podcasts: <here>

Call (713) 526-5738 to talk to me on air.

Have you ever wondered why when you watch CNN, MSNBC, ABC, CBS, FOX, and NBC they are invariably featuring the same news? Have you ever wondered why most of the issues that have material effect on your life are never really covered? Have you noticed that the news of today is shallow and un-researched?

This is all by design. An uninformed, a misinformed, an ill-informed populace is one that can be controlled. The arbiters of our news domain are mostly discredited.

Luckily good reputable bloggers are starting to assert themselves. They are providing quality prescient news to their followers. They are making a difference. Going forward they must take the mantle if the reversal of a poorly informed citizenry is to occur.

The show will feature four bloggers that are making a difference in local, state, and national news. Katherine Haenschen of BurntOrangeReport.com, Stace Medellin of DosCentavos.net, Tiffany Willis of LiberalAmerica.org, and Charles Kuffner of OffTheKuff.com will discuss these issues. We will discuss why bloggers are important, why the traditional news media is discredited, and the crowd sourcing of news by citizens.

Give me a call at (713) 526-5738. That is 713-526-KPFT. Remember you can also send me a tweet to@egbertowillies. Let us engage. It is politics done right.

I’m looking forward to an interesting talk. What I say may end up shocking you!

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Victory of Sorts on MAS

My initial reaction.

My initial reaction.

Well, the tweets and the chisme will tell you that the State Board of Education voted to add courses in Mexican American and other U.S. ethnic group studies by a score of 11 to 3. Sounds pretty huge, right?

I started watching the debate this afternoon and found out there had been a change to the proposal and much was being said about that dreaded term of which I am not a fan, “local control.” After a little and not so contentious debate, it passed easily, but I couldn’t help but ask:  What just passed? Bottom line:  It’s a step, but far from what is needed, which is full inclusion in the overall curriculum.

Nonetheless, a big DC tip of the Sombrero to the #LibrotraficanteNation, el Librotraficante Tony Diaz, and the entire crew for doing all of the leg work. It’s not easy to convince such a contentious board to move forward on something like Mexican American studies, and the work and hours they put in is to be respected and commended.

Although NBC had some of the story, The Trib had a better description of the events.

Instead of making Mexican-American studies an official high school course, the Texas State Board of Education has settled on a tentative compromise that would allow school districts to decide whether to offer the course.

“It wasn’t necessarily what we were hoping, with a stand-alone course for Mexican-American studies,” member Marisa Perez, a San Antonio Democrat, said in an interview after the meeting. “But it’s definitely a step in the right direction.”

In an 11-3 vote, board members added the class — along with African-American studies, Native American studies and Asian-American studies — to the list of instructional materials that publishers will develop for Texas social studies standards in the 2016-17 school year. That means schools will have a list of state-approved textbooks and other resources to choose from if they opt to give the class.

My friend and fellow Bobcat Joe Cardenas passed this statement along from HOPE:

Texas HOPE (Hispanics Organized for Political Education) welcomes the opportunity to implement a greater understanding and exposure of the contributions made by Mexican Americans in the establishment and development of Texas through the fostering of Mexican American Studies in public schools throughout the state. Texas HOPE and its sister organizations have long called for the inclusion of the role of Mexican Americans in the History of Texas so that a comprehensive and accurate accounting of the impact of the Mexican American community may be better appreciated by all Texans especially the millions of students throughout the classrooms of the state. Organizations such as MALDEF, the Hector P. Garcia American GI Forum Org. of Texas, Texas LULAC, and Texas HOPE have actively advocated in the past before the SBOE and its committees as well as the Senate and House Education committees for a more “truthful” History of Texas in the state’s adoption process of textbooks and development of curriculum. These organizations have been successful in their advocacy leading to the inclusion in Texas’ Social Studies books of Dr. Hector P. Garcia, the Green Flag Republic, Jose, Bernardo Gutierrez de Lara, and the Battle of Medina, as well as preserving the inclusion of Cesar Chavez and Dr. King.

However, Texas HOPE will not minimize the contributions of Mexican Americans, Tejanos/as, or other Latin Americans by relegating the teaching of those contributions to an optional elective course that the state may or may not develop and/or school districts may or may not adopt. Texas HOPE and its members will continue to advocate for the comprehensive inclusion of the contributions of Mexican Americans throughout the core curriculum that all Texas public school children must take! In light of the tremendous contributions made by Mexican Americans to all facets of Texas culture, cuisine, music, vocabulary, laws, and art, and given that Hispanics today make-up 38% of the population of the state and that 52% of all students in public education are Hispanics, it is increasingly vital and necessary that the state of Texas recognize the full implementation of the Mexican American experience into the lore of the state for all Texans to learn and appreciate so that the future of Texas and her children may be rooted in the truth and the knowledge that Texas is truly exceptional.

Texas HOPE clearly understands that the task before the State, TEA, SBEC, the SBOE, the school districts, and the Mexican American community is that of developing curriculum standards that reflect the inclusion of these contributions in the TEKS (Texas Essential Knowledge and Skills) across the curriculum taught today in public schools. However, in order for that to begin to happen, all parties must agree that a changing paradigm in developing curriculum is necessary in order to have these contributions infused into the whole curriculum. It is disingenuous for any party to feign sincere progress in this regard without actively seeking the necessary inclusion of Mexican American experts in this process. It has been the habit of the State and its institutions to develop bills, standards, policies, and statutes without the input of Mexican American stake-holders.

Texas HOPE welcomes a sincere discourse that will move the contributions of Mexican Americans beyond an optional elective course to one that is inclusive of these contributions across the curriculum in consultation with Mexican American experts and stake-holders who will be decision-makers in the process rather than by-standers. The probability of Texas’ 1,028 school districts opting to provide Mexican American Studies as an elective is low; especially when one takes into account that approximately 800 of these school districts are rural school districts who neither have the funds nor the capacity to develop or implement the course; the issue is further compounded by the fact that 64% of all teachers in Texas are non-minority and not likely able to effectively teach such a course. We as stake-holders will also be taking a risk if students don’t sign-up for the course or if only Hispanics are attracted to the course. The danger is that the State will say that there was no interest or that it is the only place in which to teach Mexican American contributions. Clearly, the Latino organizations of Texas view education as the centerpiece of their agendas because the future of Texas and of our community is increasingly in the hands of those persons who have walked the halls of Texas public education classrooms.

 

Hi- and Low-Lites from the SBOE Hearing

No doubt, there was some great testimony by supporters of Mexican American Studies, including DC-friend, Tony “Librotraficante” Diaz and Recognized author Dagoberto Gilb. Of course, Mexican American Studies was promoted and defended effectively, and it was made known that this would basically be a state-sanctioned elective whose curriculum would be developed and approved by the State and offered to the entire state. It’s a pretty simple proposal.

According to Juan Tejeda, faculty advisor at the Center for Mexican American Studies at Palo Alto College, stated that 40 individuals testified in favor of the proposal, and only one testified against it.

The AP released this report.

The discussions also likely will preview some of the coming clashes over the content of new social studies textbooks the board is set to approve for use in classrooms across Texas this fall. In 2010, then Democratic board member Mary Helen Berlanga even stormed out of a meeting on social studies curriculum after failing in her efforts to include more lessons on Hispanic leaders, declaring: “We can just pretend this is a white America and Hispanics don’t exist.”

The best question asked of the SBOE:

Still, that did beg for some questions that didn’t make much sense, but do speak to any future clashes over what is taught in the course.

As Diaz noted, the course would have to be approved first before any discussion of what is included could be had.

Obviously, Mercer was attempting to make things political in nature, rather than educational. But I agree with Diaz that if he wants to be a part of the discussion, what better way to get involved than by voting yes.

As far as Cruz’s inclusion, it could be said that maybe 65% of Mexican American voters chose the Anglo Democrat over Cruz and that Cruz constantly votes against Mexican American interests (health care, jobs, education/college aid). At least that’s what I’d contribute. That’s if Mercer really wants to get political. Otherwise, let’s make it about educating kids and move forward.

There was another question about whether indigenous Guatemalans were similar to indigenous Mexicans from SBOE member Hardy, whom I called out yesterday for basically saying Mexican American Studies came from Mexico. At least that’s what I think I heard. But that one would just be too easy to ridicule, considering she’s been a social studies teacher.

One thing is for sure. The naysayers effectively prove through their ignorance that Mexican American Studies is needed.

 

Houston ISD Backs Mexican American Studies

Kudos to HISD Board President Juliet Stipeche for calling on the board to consider a resolution favoring Mexican American Studies be added to curriculum offerings–an issue to be voted on by the Texas State Board of Education on April 9. As reported by Ericka Mellon:

The 9-0 vote followed some debate over whether the district would appear to be favoring one culture over another.

HISD board president Juliet Stipeche, who brought the resolution to the board for consideration, asked her colleagues whether they could name five Mexican-American leaders in history.

“It’s not that we don’t care. It’s that we don’t know,” she said.

As I’ve mentioned previously:

The Texas State Board of Education is set to vote in early April on including Mexican American Studies in the state curriculum. Unfortunately, those who are iffy or possibly against the proposal are all Republicans and at least three more are needed to pass the proposal. Let’s give them a call and ask them to support Mexican American Studies at their next meeting on April 9.

At least one Republican on the SBOE, however, appears to support the idea. Vice chairman Thomas Ratliff told The Texas Tribune in February: “Some of [the board members] are trying to say that they don’t want to start creating a whole bunch of other studies for every other ethnic group. I don’t understand that concern because there aren’t any other ethnic groups that make up a significant portion of the state’s population like the Hispanics do.”

Houston: Call Donna Bahorich at 832.303.9091
Woodlands: Call Barbara Cargill at 512.463.9007
San Antonio: Call Ken Mercer at 512.463.9007
Ft. Worth: Call Patricia Hardy at 817.598.2968
Dallas: Call Geraldine Miller at 972.419.4000 or qtince@aol.com
Waco: Call Sue Melton-Melone at 254.749.0415 or smelton51@gmail.com
Amarillo: Call Marty Rowley at 806.373.6278 or  martyforeducation@gmail.com

General e-mails in support of the proposal may also be sent to:  sboesupport@tea.state.tx.us

Luis Lopez for HD-132 Launches This Weekend

luis

Deportation Realities: Acquitted Dad Set to Surrender to ICE

UPDATE FROM FIEL:  Mr Moreno was granted a thirty day stay while they make a decision in his case! He was not detained though! Your signatures work SEE! We will update you all as the case moves along stay tuned!!! THANK YOU!

Guillermo Moreno has lived in the United States for over twenty years. Though undocumented, he has been his family’s breadwinner providing for two citizen children and one DACA beneficiary child. He is also a new granddad. In 2008, though, his quiet life in America began to crumble.

In 2008, he was arrested under suspicion of DWI. Although found not guilty of the charges, the wheels of the current deportation machine had already started to turn. ICE determined Guillermo did not qualify for immediate relief and ordered his deportation.

Local immigrant advocacy organization, FIEL, started a petition in support of Guillermo and his family.

Guillermo is not a threat to national security since he has not committed any violent offenses.  We are calling on ICE to grant him a stay of deportation to let him stay in the country and take care of his family  We have launched an online petition on his behalf and are preparing with his legal team to interject to stop his deportation.

Deporting this head of a family will take a psychological and economic toll on the family. Moreover, it just seems like the wrong thing to do considering President Obama and ICE have explicitly stated that their deportation policies target criminals. In the case of Guillermo Moreno, even a court of law has determined he was not guilty, yet, the only reason he is in this predicament is because of unfair immigration regulations which are unevenly enforced.

Guillermo will be turning himself into ICE (126 Northpoint, 77060) at 9AM on Tuesday, March 25, and FIEL, his family, community leaders and advocates will be there to provide support to his family.

Sign the petition–send a message to ICE. Stop this deportation!

March 15: Own The Dream DACA Clinic

Own The Dream is a national campaign whose focus is to connect undocumented youth to available resources in their communities. The organization provides free assistance for Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) applicants, and also works with school counselors and teachers on how to better communicate with the undocumented community in their schools regarding higher education opportunities.

Local organizers, Oscar Hernandez and Carolina Ramirez, know first-hand the challenges that the undocumented community experiences, especially the misinformation that can spread locally and in the schools. So, OTD is definitely a welcome resource in Houston.

Own The Dream will be hosting a DACA Clinic on March 15 at Cleveland Ripley Center in Pasadena. You may register online for the clinic here. Below is a printable flyer. (click on image to enlarge)

OTD Clinic Flyer -English

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Garcia to Abbott: Clarify Your Stance On Texas DREAM Act

One of my favorite State Senators, Sylvia Garcia of SD6, challenged gubernatorial candidate Greg Abbott today on his stance on the Texas DREAM Act. The law allows children of immigrants who meet certain residency requirements to go to Texas colleges and universities at the In-State tuition rate.

In anticipation of Greg Abbott’s campaign stop in Houston tomorrow, State Senator Sylvia Garcia asked Greg Abbott to clarify his positions on the Texas DREAM Act. When first pressed on the issue of the Texas DREAM Act, Greg Abbott said he did not have time to answer the question. Abbott later said the law was “flawed,” “needed to be reformed” and that it should be “fixed.”

“Greg Abbott can’t have it both ways. The Texas DREAM Act has allowed many kids in our communities to become the first in their family to go to college,” said Texas State Senator Sylvia Garcia. “I’m astounded that a candidate for Governor would campaign on the fact that he’s trying to decrease opportunities for young Texans. He can’t use our community just for photo-ops.”

When Abbott campaigned in San Antonio last week, U.S. Congressman Joaquin Castro asked for clarification as well. “The Texas DREAM Act has allowed thousands of students to contribute to our community and state,” said Congressman Joaquin Castro. “Greg Abbott’s reckless proposals to undercut educational opportunities for Texas students would take our state backwards.”

Abbott is trying to be as right as possible while trying to be friendly to Latinos, which never works. He’s trying to “fix” something that isn’t broken, that works fairly well, and that expands opportunities, rather than decrease them (as Abbott seems to enjoy doing on a whole list of issues).

I remember the good ol’ days when right-winger Rick Perry signed the law, no questions asked. How did this law suddenly become a piñata for Republicans?

Kudos to the Senator!

 

The Closer for Mayor Annise Parker (VIDEO)

At least that’s what her campaign manager, tweeted.

This newest ad comes after a series of negative ads against her opponent, Ben Hall. I’ll just say I wish we had seen more of these type of ads. Like I said, voters tend to be sleepy and need a nudge (or an outright knock on the head) to remind them of the good things about Houston. That said, keep voting folks!

And if you need to be convinced, then listen to my friend, Juliet Stipeche.

Progress Texas: Pasadena Plan Discriminates Against Hispanics

I must agree with the folks at Progress Texas who remind us that that Pasadena city council redistricting plan discriminates against Hispanics.

Hispanics are the voice of Texas’ new majority. In Pasadena, the Hispanic population has grown from 48.2% to 61.6% in the last decade. The Republican mayor of Pasadena is doing everything he can to stop that.

A local ballot measure in the city of Pasadena, Texas would remove two single-member council seats currently held by Hispanics and replace them with at-large seats, eliminating the biggest voice Hispanics have in the growing Houston suburb.

Thankfully, the good people from the Texas Organizing Project are educating voters about this plan. It is time for all of you to spread the word and tell your friends and family in Pasadena to vote against Johnny Isbell’s ballot proposal.