On a personal level, my thoughts are about life-long LA educator, Sal Castro. He passed away a few days ago. How do you explain who he was to someone who never knew him? In a way, he was like LA Times journalist Ruben Salazar – the journalist that was killed in 1970 in ELA. Castro had a similar impact, but he did not die. He inspired a generation. Most people know of him through the movie Walkout! But if that’s how they know him, then in a sense they only know about six months of his life. Sal never stopped crusading for what some people call educational reform. We he really did was commence a campaign against educational apartheid. And that battle never ended.
In Tucson, we’ve been battling for seven years and Sal was well aware of the struggle there, in Arizona. He wanted to speak in Tucson when TUSD and the state decided that what he stood for was not welcome in this backward state. Still we invited him, but his health was already not in the best of shape. Two years ago, one of his brightest students, Paula Crrisostomo, came in his place. And she was banned from speaking not by one, but two schools in Tucson (Tucson High and Cholla). Still she spoke to my students at the University of Arizona. Her presence was powerful that year. After speaking to my students she went to one of the most chaotic school board meetings in Tucson’s history. The entire school board, the building and its surroundings were heavily militarized… And she was there in the middle of it all… 40 years after having taking part in a historic battle with thousands of students throughout LA schools, she was right in the middle of another historic battle, this time, in defense of Raza Studies
Sal was the essence of what it means to be a teacher. In some societies a teacher is the highest example of what it means to be a good human being. A teacher imparts knowledge, imparts wisdom and sets an example.
Soon, I will feel compelled to write about him. A little more about him. At the moment, I am like many, attempting to digest the significance, the impact, of his life and his death.
When I spoke about that we had entered an era of turbulence, I meant something bigger, or something beyond Los Angeles or even beyond this country.
Just recently, the Constitution Project (a two year study) found that the United States had engaged in torture. The previous administration suspended both the Geneva Conventions and the Convention Against Torture. This of course is mind-boggling. Mind-boggling that the entire previous administration is not behind bars. There is no mystery. These politicians willingly ignored the law, and also, as collateral damage, sacrificed our rights for a false sense of security. And then you have the current administration, from day one, speaking about needing to move forward and not looking back (that’s a pretty ridiculous notion as all prosecutions of crimes and all judicial proceedings deal with the past). Failure to prosecute those that engage in torture is itself a crime. The previous administration willfully defied international law, and even U.S. law. They did not hide their intentions. What they said was that the law does not apply to this country. That was a unilateral decision. And worse the current administration has been complicit in this. The current administration’s policies, in regards to war and specifically the use of drones, is, as illegal as the previous administrations war activities.
But let’s switch gears. A generation ago dictators throughout the world, including on this continent, committed unspeakable crimes against humanity, including genocide. A generation later many of these same dictators and generals have now been put to trial. Truth commissions were not and are not good enough.
READ THE ENTIRE ARTICLE HERE: Dr Cintli: UPDATE: Nin Tonantzin Non Centeotl.