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Tuesday, May 17, 2022

Angela Valenzuela receives the 2021-22 Dean's Distinguished Equity & Community Service Award

From yesterday evening's Facebook post:

So incredibly honored. Just won this amazing recognition . Thanks to my College at UT and Dean Charles Martinez for this recognition. Thanks, as well, to my chair, Dr. Victor Saenz, Dr. Blandina Cardenas Flores, Dr. Nolan L. Cabrera, Martha P. Cotera, and Lauren Mena shook for their letters of support. And thanks to my wonderful friends and colleagues in the College for their confidence in me. I so cherish that.
I especially thank my lifelong love and partner, Emilio Zamora for his unflagging support over the years in every way possible. We are very blessed. We are ALL very blessed to have one another despite great hardship and trying times at every turn.
As for our Austin family and community, it is such an honor and privilege for us to do the work that we do.
I want to cry...releasing cleansing, refreshing tears.
Life is brief. Love is real.
Angela ❤️


 

Monday, May 16, 2022

The Democratic Party Is Shedding Latino Voters. Here’s Why.

For starters, "shedding" in the title of this piece sounds hyperbolic. I can't help but simultaneously wonder how many church members they're "shedding" in the process, too.  In any case, Latino protestants, particularly many Christian fundamentalists, are getting wooed by the right-wing faction of the Republican party that promotes this idea of the Great Replacement and other conspiracy theories. 

One has to wonder how this fits conceptually in the minds of these religious Latino members getting wooed by the Republican Party? After all, this anti-semitic theory holds that immigrants are invading America and that non-white people will undercut the votes of white Americans and how this should get understood as a political crisis rather than as a manifestation of the white supremacist ideology that has sadly and tragically gotten normalized within today's Republican party. 

This means that these Christian fundamentalist groups are agreeing with white republicans that they themselves as Latinas and Latinos constitute both a political and economic threat to this country. Just as problematic, to agree tacitly or openly with the Great Replacement theory, these "God-fearing Christians" are, in effect, endorsing the racist and violent underlying logics that are responsible for the killings of members of a South Carolina church in 2015, 11 members of a synagogue in Pennsylvania in 2018; 50 deaths at a New Zealand mosque in 2019, 23 Mexicans (and one German) in El Paso, and now, mass shooting of African Americans by a white supremacist in Buffalo, New York.

The church should ideally be at the forefront of envisioning an America that is strengthened by immigrants and that highly values diversity as integral to the vibrant economy and future that we all desire.

It's simply not Christ-like or Christian to support a vision that promotes a fear in "the other," promoting hate and contributing to the polarization and horrific violence that we are witnessing in America and throughout the world today.

Is it that these Latino voters don't see the difference here or that they don't want to see it? Certainly, any resources that they receive to promote these nefarious ideologies cloud their vision. All of this is so jarring that I hope they wake up and realize just how wrong-headed and anti-Latino this hate-filled, white supremacist agenda actually is.

-Angela Valenzuela

Katherine Stewart/May 11, 2022

LOSING GROUND

The Democratic Party Is Shedding Latino Voters. Here’s Why.

Republicans have deftly targeted this election-swinging voter demographic with a massive investment in media and messaging.



Host of conservative Spanish-language media network Americano Media Group Dianelys Guerra works in her studio in Miami. Launched in March, Americano had its first moment in the limelight in April when it secured an interview with former Republican President Donald Trump.



It wasn’t that long ago that some political pundits believed that America’s growing ethnic and racial diversity would put the conservative movement on the path to extinction. “There’s not a single demographic megatrend that favors Republicans,” Jim VandeHei and Mike Allen of Axios declared in 2019. “Republicans are sitting on a demographic time bomb of their own making,” Thomas E. Patterson of the Boston Globe wrote in 2020, adding that they “are paying a stiff price for defaming immigrants. If they hadn’t, they could have made inroads with the Latinx population.”


Sunday, May 15, 2022

Remembering Hopi Leader Thomas Banyacya, Sr., (1909-1999) on this eve of a Lunar eclipse

On this eve of the May 15, 2022, lunar eclipse, it gives me great pleasure to share with you this message delivered by the late Hopi leader, Thomas Banyacya, Sr., (1909-1999) the carrier of the prophecy, from his ancestral community and homeland located in the Four Corners area of the U.S. I encourage you to read his December 10, 1992 speech and Epilogue posted below to the United Nations General Assembly.


According to Thomas Banyacya, Hopi leaders had prophesied that in the future there would be a meeting place that they termed, the “Great House of Mica,” meaning a great house made of glass—that Hopi elders themselves prophesied—located on the Eastern shore where the rulers of the world would meet to solve problems and avoid wars. 


Hopi elders later discovered that it was the United Nations located in New York City that indeed looks like a glass house, putting Banyacya on a mission to address the body. After three rejections, they allowed him to speak while the UN was on recess. Though few were in attendance, the ramifications of his message coupled with his long life of environmental activism are significant.


You must read for yourself his address to the General Assembly that I post below, most especially how it coincided magically with one of the worst storms in New York up to that point in time. Strong winds and high tides at 25 feet resulted in flooding and great destruction in Manhattan, with the storm earning a notation in Wikipedia titled, “December 1992, Nor’easter.”


What was truly miraculous was that on the following day at the UN on December 11th with the storm in full force—it finally abated, resulting in no further destruction, albeit only after Banyacya had spontaneously gathered mostly Native people (and some non-Native people) emanating from the four corners of the Earth to form a circle and pray.


This was part of a number of other prophesies that had been withheld by the Hopi internally until what turned out to be fulfillment of one of these. Specifically, this was the dropping of nuclear bombs by the U.S. on Hiroshima and Nagasaki, Japan, on August 6 and 9, 1945, respectively. According to the Hopi, this bombing, built from the uranium and plutonium excavated from nearby lands, was the fulfillment of their “gourd of ashes” prophecy. 


This marked the moment that Hopi elders were to let the world know that they not only anticipated the advent of this devastating nuclear moment, but also to warn those in power what awaits all of humanity if we don’t change course dramatically. Because of wars, greed, and materialism, he speaks of a literal purging by Mother Earth against whom no one can ultimately win. 


We are already seeing this happening at an increasing, if not alarming, rate with eco-system-changing wild fires, tornadoes, droughts, earthquakes, flooding, and the scarring of the Earth’s landscape that when combined with the devastating impacts of war, as well as politics over land ownership and usage, our collective future as human beings is in peril.


The number four comes into focus for me at this moment, a sacred number that also represents the four directions symbolizing the four elements of water, air, fire, and Earth. 


Banyacya originated from the Four Corners area of Arizona, New Mexico, Colorado and Utah. I’ve been there. It’s breathtaking beyond measure.  

The area is surrounded by four sacred mountains, including the Hopi reservation area where Banyacya lived. As prophesied by the Hopi elders, he would succeed on his fourth attempt to deliver his message to the House of Mica that, of course, resides on native land and that is otherwise called the “United Nations.” A final note is that the storm subsided when Indigenous peoples living in harmony from the four corners of the Earth gathered into a circle and prayed.


Is this not our charge today? To gather Indigenous people—together with those that live in harmony with the land and the natural world—to gather people from the four corners of the Earth to meditate and pray so that we might engender a new consciousness as human beings living in respectful, reciprocal relation to our Earth Mother. How else are we to avert either another World War or nuclear holocaust both of which threaten to leave large areas of the planet uninhabitable and to which the gourd of ashes prophecy spoke? 


We absolutely do have choices as humanity. Though possible, we’re not necessarily inescapably steering toward another mass extinction event along the lines of what Banyacya spoke 30 years ago at the UN. However, to avert this disaster, we must certainly evolve, becoming more spiritual in prayer and meditation, living from the heart center, where we fundamentally alter our relationship toward one another and the land, inaugurating a new life and world with no wars and a green planet.


***


Great thanks to local Austin elder, Cynthia Perez, who co-owns and runs with her sister, Lidia Perez, an important community institution, La Peña, located on Congress in downtown Austin. She was a personal friend of Thomas Banyacya, and she brought this to my attention in a conversation pertinent to this evening’s lunar eclipse or “Blood Moon” that will be throughout much of the world, including Ukraine and Russia, as you can read about in this piece by Mathewson titled, What time is the Super Flower Blood Moon lunar eclipse?


While the Earth will completely cast a shadow on tonight’s moon, it’s blood or reddish color occurs because it reflects the sun’s rays.


There is a lot of good information on the lunar eclipse at NASA Science Live. If you’re a star gazer or moon lover like myself, we’re all in for a real treat!


-Angela Valenzuela


References



Banyacya, Sr., T. (2019, July 20).  Hopi Prophecy: Thomas Banyacya Sr.'s U.N. Address - 1992 [Youtube] https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EJ5W-rTs-h8


Banyacya, Sr., T. (1992, September 14). Word Uranium Hearing.  [Speech], Day of the Mountains, World Uranium Hearing. Salzburg, Austria. https://web.archive.org/web/20110703114218/http://nuclear-free.com/english/banyacya.htm


Christo, C. (2021, Aug. 4). The Hopi prophecies are coming true—here’s why we should pay attention. Retrieved: https://thehill.com/changing-america/opinion/566362-the-hopi-prophecies-are-coming-true-heres-why-we-should-pay/


Thomas Jr., R. M. (1999,Feb. 15). Thomas Banyacya, 89, Teller Of Hopi Prophecy to World. New York Times, Section B, Page 8. Retrieved: https://www.nytimes.com/1999/02/15/us/thomas-banyacya-89-teller-of-hopi-prophecy-to-world.html




The Hopi Message

An Address by Thomas Banyacya, Kykotsmovi Hopi Nation [Arizona]

United Nations General Assembly

December 10, 1992

Distributed by The Alpha Institute

milo@scicom.alphacdc.com. 

The presentation by Mr Thomas Banyacya, the final speaker, was preceded by three shouts by Oren Lyons, Faithkeeper of the Six Nations, and first speaker of the day. The shouts were a spiritual announcement to the Great Spirit of the people assembled and the intention to give a message of spiritual importance. Thomas then sprinkled corn meal next to the podium of the General Assembly and made a brief remark in Hopi that translates as follows:

Hopi Spiritual leaders had an ancient prophecy that some day world leaders would gather in a Great House of Mica with rules and regulations to solve the world problems without war. I am amazed to see the prophecy has come true and you are here today! But only a handful of United Nations Delegates are present to hear the Motee Sinom (Hopi for First People) from around the world who spoke here today.

(In English:) My name is Banyacya of the Wolf, Fox and Coyote Clan and I am a member of the Hopi sovereign nation. Hopi in our language means a peaceful, kind, gentle, truthful people. The traditional Hopi follows the spiritual path that was given to us by Massau’u the Great Spirit. We made a sacred covenant to follow his life plan at all times, which includes the responsibility of taking care of this land and life for his divine purpose. We have never made treaties with any foreign nation, including the United States, but for many centuries we have honored this sacred agreement. Our goals are not to gain political control, monetary wealth nor military power, but rather to pray and to promote the welfare of all living beings and to preserve the world in a natural way. We still have our ancient sacred stone tablets and spiritual religious societies which are the foundations of the Hopi way of life. Our history says our white brother should have retained those same sacred objects and spiritual foundations.

In 1948, all traditional Hopi spiritual leaders met and spoke of things I felt strongly were of great importance to all people. They selected four interpreters to carry their message of which I am the only one still living today. At the time, I was given a sacred prayer feather by the spiritual leaders. I made a commitment to carry the Hopi message of peace and deliver warnings from prophesies known since the time the previous world was destroyed by flood and our ancestors came to this land.

My mission was to open the doors of this Great House of Mica to native peoples. The Elders said to knock four times and this commitment was fulfilled when I delivered a letter and the sacred prayer feather I had been given to John Washburn in the Secretary General’s office in October, 1991. I am bringing part of the Hopi message to you here today. We have only ten minutes to speak and time is late so I am making my statement short.

At the meeting in 1948, Hopi leaders 80, 90 and even 100 years old explained that the creator made the first world in perfect balance where humans spoke one language, but humans turned away from moral and spiritual principles. They misused their spiritual powers for selfish purposes. They did not follow nature’s rules. Eventually the world was destroyed by sinking of land and separation of land by what you would call major earthquakes. Many died and only a small handful survived.

Then this handful of peaceful people came into the second world. They repeated their mistakes and the world was destroyed by freezing which you call the great Ice Age.

The few survivors entered the third world. That world lasted a long time and as in previous worlds, the people spoke one language. The people invented many machines and conveniences of high technology, some of which have not yet been seen in this age. They even had spiritual powers that they used for good. They gradually turned away from natural laws and pursued only material things and finally only gambled while they ridiculed spiritual principles. No one stopped them from this course and the world was destroyed by the great flood that many nations still recall in their ancient history or in their religions.

The Elders said again only small groups escaped and came to this fourth world where we now live. Our world is in terrible shape again even though the Great Spirit gave us different languages and sent us to four corners of the world and told us to take care the Earth and all that is in it.

This Hopi ceremonial rattle represents Mother Earth. The line running around it is a time line and indicates that we are in the final days of the prophecy. What have you, as individuals, as nations and as the world body been doing to take care of this Earth? In the Earth today, humans poison their own food, water and air with pollution. Many of us, including children, are left to starve. Many wars are still being fought. Greed and concern for material things is a common disease.

In this western hemisphere, our homeland, many original native people are landless, homeless, starving and have no medical help. The Hopi knew humans would develop many powerful technologies that would be abused. In this century, we have seen the First World War and the Second World War in which the predicted gourd of ashes, which you call the atomic bomb, fell from the sky with great destruction. Many thousands of people were destroyed in Hiroshima and Nagasaki.

For many years there has been great fear and danger of World War Three. The Hopi believe the Persian Gulf War was the beginning of World War Three but it was stopped and the worst weapons of destruction were not used. This is now a time to weigh the choices for our future. We do have a choice. If you, the nations of this Earth, create another great war, the Hopi believe we humans will burn ourselves to death with ashes. That’s why the spiritual Elders stress strongly that the United Nations fully open the door for native spiritual leaders as soon as possible.

Nature itself does not speak with a voice that we can easily understand. Neither can the animals and birds we are threatening with extinction talk to us. Who in this world can speak for nature and the spiritual energy that creates and flows through all life? In every continent are human beings who are like you but who have not separated themselves from the land and from nature. It is through their voice that Nature can speak to us. You have heard those voices and many messages from the four corners of the world today. I have studied comparative religion and I think in your own nations and cultures you have knowledge of the consequences of living out of balance with nature and spirit. The native peoples of the world have seen and spoken to you about the destruction of their lives and homelands, the ruination of nature and the desecration of their sacred sites. It is time the United Nations used its rules to investigate these occurrences and stop them now. The Four Corners area of the Hopi is bordered by four sacred mountains. The spiritual center within is a sacred site our prophecies say will have special purpose in the future for mankind to survive and now should be left in its natural state. All nations must protect this spiritual center.

The Hopi and all original native people hold the land in balance by prayer, fasting and performing ceremonies. Our spiritual Elders still hold the land in the Western Hemisphere in balance for all living beings, including humans. No one should be relocated from their sacred homelands in this Western Hemisphere or anywhere in the world. Acts of forced relocation, such as Public Law 93-531 in the United States, must be repealed.

The United Nations stands on our native homeland. The United Nations talks about human rights, equality and justice and yet the native people have never had a real opportunity to speak to this assembly since its establishment until today. It should be the mission of your nations and this assembly to use your power and rules to examine and work to cure the damage people have done to this Earth and to each other. Hopi Elders know that was your mission and they wait to see whether you will act on it now. Nature, the First People and the spirit of our ancestors are giving you loud warnings. Today, December 10, 1992, you see increasing floods, more damaging hurricanes, hail storms, climate changes and earthquakes as our prophesies said would come. Even animals and birds are warning us with strange change in their behavior such as the beaching of whales. Why do animals act like they know about the earth’s problems and most humans act like they know nothing? If we humans do not wake up to the warnings, the great purification will come to destroy this world just as the previous worlds were destroyed.

(Thomas and Oren Lyons held up a picture of a large rock drawing in Hopiland) This rock drawing shows part of the Hopi prophecy. There are two paths. The first with technology but separate from natural and spiritual law leads to these jagged lines representing chaos. The lower path is one that remains in harmony with natural law. Here we see a line that represents a choice like a bridge joining the paths. If we return to spiritual harmony and live from our hearts, we can experience a paradise in this world. If we continue only on this upper path, we will come to destruction.

Its up to all of us, as children of Mother Earth, to clean up this mess before it’s too late. The Elders request that during this International Year for the Worlds Indigenous Peoples, the United Nations keep that door open for spiritual leaders from the four corners of the world to come to speak to you for more than a few minutes as soon as possible. The Elders also request that eight investigative teams visit the native areas of the world to observe and tell the truth about what is being done and stop these nations from moving in this self- destructive direction.

If any of you leaders want to learn more about the spiritual vision and power of the Elders, I invite you to come out to Hopiland and sit down with our real spiritual leaders in their sacred Kivas where they will reveal the ancient secrets of survival and balance. I hope that all members of this assembly that know the spiritual way will not just talk about it, but in order to have real peace and harmony, will follow what it says across the United Nations wall: “They will beat their swords into plowshares and study war no more.” Let's, together, do that now!

EPILOGUE

The night before the presentations of the native people from around the world to the General Assembly, there was a total eclipse of the moon over New York City and the sky was clear. The evening after the presentation by Mr. Banyacya and the other native spokespersons, heavy rain and strong wind began. The weathermen had been calling for a snowstorm but what came the following day were the worst floods in New York’s memory. Major highways were washed away by the sea and the United Nations itself experienced flooding of its lower subfloors, forcing a shutdown of its heating and air conditioning and all personnel were dismissed at three o’clock. In the ground floor meeting room, where on December 11, native peoples were meeting representatives of various UN agencies, Thomas Banyacya spontaneously called on all the participants, including UN officials, to form a great circle. All the Elders were in the center and Thomas called in some non-native people as well. Each silently said a prayer. The forming of the circle of unity of all people from the four corners of the Earth was more than just a symbolic act. One participant said she had never felt herself to be in such a safe place. Later, several people present noted that no further storm damage occurred in Manhattan and that the storm itself abated that afternoon.

It was my good fortune to attend this gathering at the United Nations in New York city and to be able to add a few words on behalf of the animals whose suffering and extinction would become ours if we did not address all our relationships with the natural world, notably habitat destruction, factory farming, over-fishing, pollution, climate change and genetic engineering.



Why Bill Gates Is Buying Up U.S. Farmland

This August 21, 2021 CNBC video and news story is an eye-opener. One learns that 1.86% of all the
land available in the U.S. is owned by 100 of the wealthiest people in the U.S., including Bill Gates and Jeff Bezos and 98 others. You can learn about all 100 families in the 2020 edition of the Land Report.

The land consists of forests, ranches, and farmland. This happens against the backdrop of 2,000 acres of farmland that is lost to development. 

Approximately 39 % of all of America's current 911 million acres of farmland is rented or leased out to farmers. 

This jeopardizes the status of current farmers that can't afford to purchase land for themselves or to compete against the big growers who are always trying to buy them out.

Whether the consolidation of farmland in the hands of private, for-profit corporations is good or bad for the future, the experts aren't saying—at least not in this video. Still, it's hard to imagine a world where farmers that lease farmland truly benefit, considering that land ownership—were it attainable—is not even a viable option for them.

That said, an interesting possible opportunity over the next 25 years is that demographics point to a turning over of 50 percent of farmland! This is huge, my friends.

At a time of ecological change, upheaval and crisis, it is important for us to consider the quality of our soils, our food sources, affordable food prices, and collectively plan for the future, most especially protecting and defending the livelihoods of young farmers.

A good organization to be aware of and support is the National Young Farmers Coalition (NYFC) that has local chapters throughout the U.S. Here are links to the NYFC in Central Texas:


You can find them on Twitter at @YoungFarmers


-Angela Valenzuela

#youngfarmers





Bill Gates made headlines for becoming the largest private farmland owner in the U.S. But he’s not the only one. Some of the wealthiest landowners including Jeff Bezos, John Malone and Thomas Peterffy are buying up forests, ranches and farmlands across the United States. Why? Watch the video to find out. Investments in farmland are growing across the country as people, including the ultra-wealthy like Bill Gates, look for new ways to grow their money. In 2020, Gates made headlines for becoming the largest private farmland owner in the U.S. He had accumulated more than 269,000 acres of farmland across 18 states in less than a decade. His farmland grows onions, carrots and even the potatoes that are used to make McDonald’s French fries. “It’s an asset with increasing value,” American Farmland Trust CEO John Piotti said. “It has great intrinsic value and beyond that, it is a limited resource.” The U.S. Department of Agriculture estimates that 30% of all farmland is owned by landlords who don’t farm themselves. Buyers often purchase land from farmers who have owned it for decades; many of whom may be asset rich but maybe cash poor. “The economic realities for them are typical that they’ve spent their life farming,” said Holly Rippon-Butler, land campaign director at the National Young Farmers Coalition. “Their retirement, their equity is all in the land and tied up in selling land.” Private landowners are also making a profit by utilizing the land in numerous ways. Approximately 39% of the 911 million acres of farmland across the U.S. is rented out to farmers, and 80% of that rented farmland is owned by landlords who don’t farm themselves data from the Agriculture Department shows. “The young farmers are just as happy to lease the land because whether you are young or old, it’s a business, right?” said Thomas Petterfy, chairman of Interactive Brokers and owner of 581,000 acres. “You go buy a farm and you put that cash rental lease in place, you’re going to be looking at about 2.5% return on your capital,” Peoples Company President Steve Bruere said. » Subscribe to CNBC: https://cnb.cx/SubscribeCNBC » Subscribe to CNBC TV: https://cnb.cx/SubscribeCNBCtelevision » Subscribe to CNBC Classic: https://cnb.cx/SubscribeCNBCclassic

Thursday, May 12, 2022

"Beto Power = Veto Power!!!

(AP Photo/Richard W. Rodriguez) Richard W. Rodriguez, FRE / Associated Press with Angela's 

meme lettering on it.


Friends:

Let's get this backward, misogynist, anti-kid, anti-minority administration out of power in Texas.

Remember: "Beto Power = Veto Power!!!

-Angela Valenzuela

#BetoForTexas  #BetoForGovernor

Twitter: @BetoORourke

Website: betofortexas.com
 

Ex-Richardson ISD Superintendent Jeannie Stone says anti-CRT Legislation is About Protecting Adults from Children

Great quote by former Richardson ISD superintendent Jeannie Stone: "CRT is about as easy as nailing Jell-O to a moving train." When one considers that bill sponsor Rep. Steve Toth also didn't know something he was against, it all starts to get really ludicrous. No, it's not about teaching culturally relevant curriculum. According to Stone, the fight against CRT is designed to protect weak-kneed adults from children as follows:

"The genie is out of the bottle, the cat’s out of the bag. We’re not protecting children with these bills, we’re protecting adults. We’re protecting adults from children, because adults are afraid of looking hypocritical, of being caught flat-footed when their child questions some view on race they’ve voiced at the dinner table."

Adults should improve their posture rather than compensating for weakness. Moreover, as Stone suggests, they should not at all confuse CRT with culturally relevant teaching or pedagogy.

-Angela Valenzuela

Take It From Ex-Richardson ISD Superintendent Jeannie Stone: Defining ‘CRT’ Isn’t Easy

Nobody can agree on what CRT means, or whether it's actually being taught in public schools.
State Rep. Steve Toth (R-The Woodlands) sponsored the so-called "Anti-CRT" legislation that later became law in Texas.

It’s only three letters, but defining CRT is about as easy as nailing Jell-O to a moving train—something former Richardson ISD superintendent Jeannie Stone explained recently in a post on her blog.

First, there is what it is on its face: Critical Race Theory, a 40-year-old academic theory that examines race as a social construct, and how it has become entrenched in how justice is meted out and how public policy is formed. 

Then there’s what many educators at first (Stone included) thought it was: Culturally Relevant Teaching, which works to build connections between student culture at home and what they experience at school. When you have districts as diverse as Richardson ISD and Dallas ISD, for instance, that opportunity to provide a mirror (students seeing themselves as appreciated in the classroom for the experiences and perspective they bring) versus a window (looking at fellow classmates, but not a part of the actual learning process) is an important one.

It’s why some of the first queries about CRT at a Richardson school board meeting threw Stone for a loop.

Stone writes:

“I honestly thought throughout the entire meeting she was referring to concepts we had been attempting to advance for years in Richardson ISD: Culturally Relevant Teaching. Because … Culturally Relevant Teaching (aka, “the other CRT”), is a thing–a really, really important thing–and something I had been heavily researching and referencing all throughout my last four years as a superintendent, albeit I regret that it wasn’t longer.”

Stone said that she actually had to look up Critical Race Theory to learn what parents were telling her they didn’t want to be taught at their schools.

District staff began digging into work by Zaretta Hammond (Culturally Responsive Teaching and the Brain) and Dr. Sharrocky Hollie (Strategies for Culturally and Linguistically Responsive Teaching and Learning), bringing the latter in to train administrators and later teachers in some of the district’s most diverse campuses, well before the movement against the “other CRT” was even a nascent idea.

“Beyond making individual connections, there is great communal value in helping students understand the cultures of other students with whom they interact,” she writes. “Developing their understanding of other cultures lets students have more meaningful interactions with those around them.”

But then the anti-CRT movement began to take hold. Parents began demanding that districts cease teaching something they weren’t teaching. At that point, CRT took on a third meaning: everything from Black history to Black Lives Matter to virtually any effort toward diversity, equity, and inclusion was conflated with CRT.

Then, as state legislatures began to convene, actual legislation banning CRT (although in many cases lawmakers don’t actually mention CRT in the bills) began to hit statehouse floors. Then those bills were passed, and nearly all put limits on social studies curricula that addressed race or history in ways that made people uncomfortable.

It’s a phenomenon I wrote about over the summer, as I covered House Bill 3979, Texas’ “anti-CRT” bill:

“I can tell you that right now, without my help, my fourth-grader can tell you what is going on in the world because he watches the news. He has access (with supervision) to the internet. He has friends. Your child does, too. The genie is out of the bottle, the cat’s out of the bag. We’re not protecting children with these bills, we’re protecting adults. We’re protecting adults from children, because adults are afraid of looking hypocritical, of being caught flat-footed when their child questions some view on race they’ve voiced at the dinner table.”

As I wrote, my family tree is entwined with the use of enslaved Black people as free labor. It is never comfortable to think about or talk about. But even learning about that history is being cut off entirely in some cases, with just the barest of mentions about slavery in textbooks. (I know, I sat next to a fourth-grader for all of 2021.)

Stone lays out the case for why it’s important to approach the classroom in culturally relevant and informed ways—and why that is imperiled by this wave of anti-CRT rhetoric.

“It seems as though Critical Race Theory was the perfect weapon of disruption to stall forward momentum in equity work which aims to close achievement gaps,” Stone says. “Maybe it was even part of the strategy to conflate Critical Race Theory (CRT) with Culturally Relevant Teaching (CRT) to focus the opposition’s attack, and also to muddy the waters of public debate even further.”

Later this week, we’ll talk about the additional unintended consequences of anti-CRT legislation. 

Bethany Erickson

Bethany Erickson

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Bethany Erickson is the senior digital editor for D Magazine. She's written about real estate, education policy, the stock market, and crime throughout her career, and sometimes all at the same time. She hates lima beans and 5 a.m. and takes SAT practice tests for fun.