Please Support the RAZA DEFENSE FUND!
Please DONATE to the RAZA DEFENSE FUND to assist long time Tucson Mexican American Studies (MAS) responsive community educators, Sean Arce and Jose González, as they are currently being sued under the false premise of “defamation” by John Ward, former Tucson Unified School District (TUSD) teacher and current operative of the Arizona right-wing to include Arizona Attorney General Tom Horne (the originator of the State of Arizona’s anti- Mexican American Studies HB 2281).
Donations can be made to the RAZA DEFENSE FUND in the following two ways:
1) On the “RAZA DEFENSE FUND – We Pay” Web Site, you can donate by accessing the following link:
2) By mailing a check to “Raza Defense Fund” to the following address:
RAZA DEFENSE FUND
307 South Convent
Tucson, Arizona 85701
Your donations are critically needed, as these funds will go towards defending Arce and González against these continued attacks from former Tucson Unified School District (TUSD) Social Studies teacher John Ward. The legal proceedings in this case are moving forward, current legal costs are quickly amassing, and in the very near future legal expenses will be exorbitant. While the legal services of an outstanding Civil Rights Attorney have been obtained pro-bono, the legal costs to fully and effectively defend Arce and González will run in the tens of thousands of dollars. Costs such as depositions, video taping of depositions, transcriptions of depositions, and discovery… to name a few, are currently accumulating and need to be paid in order to successfully defend Arce and González.
Moreover, John Ward – the former TUSD teacher and current ally of the Arizona right- wing, has been able to raise monies for the litigation with the backing of Arizona Attorney General Tom Horne (the creator and top proponent of HB 2281), Arizona State Legislator Steve Montenegro (the writer of HB 2281), Arizona Superintendent of Public Instruction John Huppenthal, right-wing propagandists Tucsonans United 4 Sound Districts, right-wing propagandist blogger for the Arizona Daily Independent – Loretta Hunnicutt, the Ahwatukee Tea Party, the Deer Valley Tea Party, the Maricopa County Republican Committee, the Arizona GOP, the Arizona Latino Republican Association, the Central Republicans Women’s Club, and the Arizona Chapter of the Republican Jewish Coalition.
Ward, with the support of his right-wing allies and attorneys, are determined to make the trial against Arce and González a modern-day “Scopes Trial” against Mexican American Studies/Chicano Studies; this case is not about Mexican American Studies/Chicano Studies, and we must prevent Ward, his attorneys, and his allies from making it into one. In fact, the Ward lawsuit against Arce and González has become personal and is meant to destroy the professional and personal lives of these two outstanding educators who have been under attack for standing up against the elimination of Mexican American Studies in Tucson, Arizona for the past six years.
The John Ward Defamation Case Against Sean Arce & Jose González
Former TUSD Social Studies teacher, John Ward is suing former TUSD Mexican American Studies Department (MASD) educators Sean Arce and Jose González for $1,000,000 damages for defamation, defamation per se, and false light of invasion of privacy. Ward falsely claims that his “good name and reputation as an educator have been damaged by the defamatory statements of Messrs. Arce and Gonzalez” based upon comments that Arce made in an interview with Education Week in September 2010 (the comments were never published) and for comments that González made shortly following a December 30, 2010 TUSD Governing Board Meeting.
Furthermore, even the spouses of Arce and González are named as defendants in the suit, specifically Essence Sanchez Arce (a long time public school educator, someone who organized for the creation of MAS as college student, and mother of two school aged Arce children) and Norma González (a long time former MAS educator – grandmother of two, mother of two children and step mother of one González school aged child), making this an all out attack on the Arce and González families.
For Arce, Ward’s false claim of defamation stems from an interview that Mary Ann Zehr of Education Week conducted with Arce in September of 2010. During this interview Zehr communicated to Arce that Ward told her that he was removed from co-teaching the MAS sponsored American History / Mexican American Perspectives class at Tucson High Magnet School during the Fall of 2002 because Ward spoke out against Arce teaching students “anti- American” values and to hate white people. In response to Ward’s false accusations and out of defense for his professional, personal, and his family’s well-being, Arce communicated to Zehr that he never taught students “anti-American values” or to “hate white people.”
Moreover, to further provide accuracy in response to these false accusations of Arce that Ward first expressed to Zehr – a national level journalist/reporter, Arce communicated to Zehr that the one of the reasons that Ward was removed from co-teaching the American History/ Mexican American Perspectives class during the Fall of 2002, to the best of his recollection (this incident occurred eight years prior), was that Ward slammed a book and used expletives in front of students in the class because he was in disagreement with the overall MAS pedagogy and curriculum. On September 21, 2010, Zehr published “Students Aren’t Deterred in Ethnic Studies Controversy” in Education Week, where Zehr did not publish the comments that Ward is accusing Arce of making.
For González, Ward’s false claim of defamation stems the December 30, 2010 TUSD Governing Board Meeting where Ward engaged in a discussion with González. That evening, John Ward willingly interviewed with local news media to express his displeasure with the TUSD Governing Board “Resolution to Implement Ethnic Studies in Tucson Unified School District in Accordance with All Applicable Laws.” Ward then began to interview with a local Tucson blogger and asked that González sit with him to discuss the MAS issue (http:/ /www.youtube.com/watch?v=Kqkqe73C_YQ). The blogger in this interview proceeded to communicate to Ward, “There were students who claimed that you once cussed in front of the class and threw your books down and walked out” to which Ward responded “You can ask one of my former students if I ever slammed books and uh, cussed in front of uh…” The blogger immediately responded, “I actually did.” González then intervened, “I was there, I witnessed it and so did the whole class. And not only that, the foul language that came out of your mouth.”
Ward’s case is simply a continuation of the attacks on Mexican Americans / Latinos originating from the State of Arizona’s Attorney General Tom Horne and Arizona State Superintendent of Public Instruction John Huppenthal that is set out to destroy the personal and professional lives of MAS educators Arce and González. Despite Ward throwing his name into the national media fray (well before the February 27, 2011 date wherein he filed his claim against Arce and Gonzalez), conspiring with former Arizona State Superintendent of Public Instruction and current Arizona Attorney General Tom Horne, making public appearances with Tom Horne, attacking the Mexican American Studies Department and its personnel through national (http://www.foxnews.com/story/ 0,2933,593046,00.html) and local media (http://tucsoncitizen.com/morgue/2008/05/21/ 85853-guest-opinion-raza-studies-gives-rise-to-racial-hostility/), Ward is now claiming that his future employment prospects have been adversely impacted and that he is also emotionally and psychologically damaged.
In fact, it has been Arce and González whose employment prospects have been damaged through Ward’s public attacks, Ward’s allies and political affiliates – Arizona Attorney General Tom Horne and Arizona Superintendent of Public Instruction John Huppenthal, and TUSD Leadership under Superintendent John Pedicone and the TUSD Governing Board who have eliminated MAS, the very department under which González taught, as well as TUSD’s- Pedicone’s acts of retaliation against Arce through not renewing Arce’s contract because he spoke out against TUSD’s discriminatory and unconstitutional enforcement of HB 2281.
Video and Media Evidence Illustrating John Ward’s False Allegations in the Civil Case Against Arce & Gonzalez
View the following link on the Precious Knowledge documentary movie trailer (http:/ /vimeo.com/15062646) at the 1 minute 8 second mark, wherein John Ward with current Arizona State Attorney General Tom Horne standing directly behind him. In this trailer Ward defames and demonizes the TUSD MASD personnel, to include Sean Arce and Jose González, by stating that “The program (TUSD’s Mexican American Studies Department) is administered by vehemently anti-American zealots.” This language towards Arce and González is nothing short of a political witch hunt set out to destroy the professional and personal lives of Arce and González.
In short, weeks following the contested Fall of 2002 incident that Ward is disputing ever happened, Ward did not continue to assist in the teaching of the MASD sponsored American History / Mexican American Perspectives class for the remainder of the academic year. Interestingly, six years later when then Arizona Superintendent of Public Instruction, Tom Horne, began attacking and demonizing TUSD’s MASD, John Ward, out of political convenience, wrote a May 21, 2008 “opinion piece” in the Tucson Citizen entitled “Raza Studies gives rise to racial hostility.” In this piece, all of Ward’s claims were false, to include but not limited to the following two examples:
Ward’s False Claim:
“I was assigned to be a ‘teacher of record’ because some members of the Raza studies staff lacked teaching certificates. It was a convenient way of circumventing the rules.”
The main TUSD MASD instructor assigned to “co-instruct” this class, Sean Arce, did have a valid Arizona State Teaching Certificate at the time of the 2002-2003 academic year.
Ward’s False Claim:
“As an educator, I refused to be complicit in a curriculum that engendered racial hostility, irresponsibly demeaned America’s civil institutions, undermined our public servants, discounted any virtues in Western civilization and taught disdain for American sovereignty.”
The TUSD MASD classes have never taught racial hostility toward any group of people, demeaned America’s civil institutions, undermined our public servants, nor discounted the virtues of Western Civilization or taught a disdain for American sovereignty; on the contrary, MASD has provided a curriculum and pedagogy that has created the classroom conditions for students to be: full participants in a democracy, critical thinkers, academically proficient, developers of cultural, social, and historical knowledge and that serve as bridges of understanding.
The Ward case against Arce and González is a critical one, one that is indicative of the politics and climate of fear and discrimination against the Mexican American/Chicano community in Arizona, one that speaks directly to the notion of social justice, and is one that cannot be successfully defended in the courts without your financial assistance. Please donate to the RAZA DEFENSE FUND and help put a stop to right-wing attacks taking place against the Mexican American/Chicano community in Tucson, Arizona.
Please help Arce and González to defend themselves and stand up to the right-wing attacks by donating to the RAZA DEFENSE FUND.
Lastly, please help the Arce and Gonzalez’s children and familias who have sacrificed and have stood strong for six-long years as they have and continue to fight for their community within the context of Arizona’s pervasive anti-Mexican environment.
Arce and Gonzalez RAZA DEFENSE FUND
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