FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE May 2, 2011
Contact Person: Rev. Alison Harrington
Pastor, Southside Presbyterian Church
Phone: (520) 623-6857 or (520) 548-6558
Clergy speak out in support of Ethnic Studies
TUCSON- Local clergy will show their support of Ethnic Studies by holding a prayer vigil in front of the Tucson Unified School District building at 1010 E. 10th Street on Tuesday, May 3. The vigil will begin with a press conference at noon on Tuesday.
At the gathering in front of the district offices religious leaders will call for the School Board to show their support for Ethnic Studies by refusing to take any actions that might undermine the program. Clergy will also be calling people of faith to be in prayer for the school board members, the students, and the teachers.
Whereas the Mexican American Studies program shows significantly higher testing and graduation rates within a vulnerable and historically marginalized group, it is the moral responsibility of faith leaders to speak out in defense of ethnic studies. The liberating message of the Gospels is itself rooted in the prophetic tradition of confronting oppressive state norms; just as the efforts of Tucson ethnic studies students have taken a courageous stance for social justice in organizing against HB 2281 and the school boards’ attempts to dismantle the program.
“For quite some time Arizona has been struggling to understand what it means to be a highly diverse community. This is not the time to silence the history and culture of parts of our community; it is a time to open our hearts and ears to one another’s histories and we believe that the Ethnic Studies programs are a crucial component to this dialogue. As clergy we are committed to building what Dr. King called the Beloved Community; we don’t believe this can be done if we don’t understand each other’s histories” said the Reverend Alison Harrington.
Several religious leaders representing a variety a denominational and faith traditions are expected to be in attendance. In addition, people of faith and conscience have been invited to attend and the entire community will be invited to come by the district offices to join in the prayer vigil which will last throughout the afternoon until the Board Meeting at 5:30PM.
“As a community of diverse religions, languages, and cultures, it is necessary that we not forget the richness that resides in the history of our people. The Ethnic Studies program, by enriching the education of our youth, enriches our larger community and teaches us about the ever-important principles of tolerance and civil dialogue. To all the students struggling to save the Ethnic Studies program, I say in the words of the prophet Isaiah, “Do not fear, for you will not be ashamed; do not be discouraged, for you will not suffer disgrace.” Fr. Bill Remmel, SDS
For more info, please contact:
Rev. Alison Harrington at 548-6558 or firstname.lastname@example.org
Noel Anderson at (510) 334-0431 or email@example.com (Spanish Speaking)