Summary of first day of MAS/HB2281 federal trial in Tucson – June 26th, 2017

Yesterday, Monday, June 26th, 2017, was the first day of the MAS/HB2281 federal trial.

In 2010, Arizona passed HB2281 which is also known as the Ethnic Studies Ban bill that then-State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Horne and then his successor John Huppenthal used in their political campaigns to boast about “banning Ethnic Studies” and “stopping La Raza.”

Maya Arce and legal counsel. Photo by Anita Fernandez.

In 2012, the hugely successful and nationally-spreading K-12 Mexican American Studies program was banned in the place where it was born; in Tucson.

What made this program different than other MAS/Chicano Studies programs that you can find and most colleges across the nation was its foundation on an indigenous epistemology.

As represented in court yesterday, students in MAS classes had no less than a 95% graduation rate and as high as a 98% rate of graduation. Compare this to a 50-60% average graduation rate for Latinos nationwide.

After opening statements, the first witness called to the stand was former MAS maestro Dr. Curtis Acosta.

He was followed by TUSD student Maya Arce who was also a Plaintiff on the case (she is now at the UA). Both of these witnesses completed their testimony on Monday and with enough time to begin the examination of John Huppenthal.

The Plaintiffs did not finish their examination at the end of the day so Huppenthal will be first up Tuesday, followed by cross-examination by the State.

The title of this MAS case is “Acosta vs Huppenthal.” The attorneys on the MAS side include Black, Latino, Asian and White lawyers. The attorneys defending this racist ban for the State of Arizona are all White.


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This morning Huppenthal is expected to be asked about his racist anonymous blog commenting that he admitted to almost exactly 3 years ago today this week.

Here is a link to my live-blogging of the trial yesterday which includes pictures from throughout the day. No phones are allowed in the courtroom so we all tried to update followers on social media during each recess. There was no wifi and the 4G was weak, but we tried our best. Below are links to what others in attendance were posting on social media to summarize Monday in court.


Also published on Medium.

2 comments on “Summary of first day of MAS/HB2281 federal trial in Tucson – June 26th, 2017
  1. Our prayers and 100% support are with all of you, from C-FAIRR a Tucson community based organization made up of mostly retired professionals committed to the preservation of our culture especially through education. Please know that we are very, very proud of each and everyone of you participating in the MAS struggle.
    God bless all of you!! Mario R. Gonzales, C-FAIRR –
    Chairperson

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