Above: Aniyah Story, a Junior at Oakland High, studies her U.S. History textbook while distance learning at home.
We are deeply disappointed to hear that Governor Newsom vetoed Assembly Bill 331 on Wednesday, which would have made Ethnic Studies a high school graduation requirement. In a year where students are facing historical challenges learning in the midst of a global pandemic and state violence against the movement for Black lives, 2020 has highlighted the systemic racism in our institutions. Governor Newsom had the opportunity to continue to take steps towards racially equitable schools by signing AB 331. By vetoing it, he has done the opposite and let California’s youth down.
“It kinda feels like a slap in the face to me because this is something I’m really passionate about and in the times that we’re in, this was one of the things I was looking forward to,” Aniyah Story, youth leader with Californians for Justice and student in Oakland Unified School District. “To see it get vetoed is just super disappointing.”
We want to thank Assemblymember Medina and his team for all their hard work around the bill, along with Assemblymembers Bloom, Bonta, Gonzalez, Ramos, Weber, Carrillo, Cristina Garcia, Kalra, Salas, California students, organizations, educators, school staff, community members, and legislative members who organized and supported the bill.
Though it did not happen this year, we look forward to continuing the fight for ethnic studies next year, and working with students to realize their vision for a racially just education.
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