It’s Time to Teach our Students About the Chicano Movement

Last night Donald Trump won, and today many of our beautiful brown youth might be feeling anxious and uncertain. In this time when it seems like our country is in crisis, we can use this moment to teach children about racism and how Chicanos and Latinos have resisted oppression throughout the our history.

Teach your children about racism. Don’t be afraid to have candid and frequent conversations about skin color, race, and ethnicity. Tell your students that just because an adult says something racist, they do not have to accept it. Silence is dangerous. Give your children space to speak up and teach them to be brave when they confront racism even in adults. Even if your child is afraid to confront a racist, encourage him to come to you when he sees fit so you can both talk it over and decide how to proceed.

Talk to your child about xenophobia and how some people fear those who come from other countries. Tell your children that all humans have the same physical makeup and basic human needs. Tell your students that hating someone simply because he is different doesn’t make sense.

Dust off those Chicano studies books and start to teach your child about our resilience. We have a history of survival and resistance. When people know about the strength of the community that they come from, they feel empowered. Our young students to feel empowered in these uncertain times.

Here are a few books that you might consider sharing with your children:

  1. Chicano Movement for Beginners by Maceo Montoya
  2. My Diary from Here to There by Amada Irma Perez and Maya Christina Gonzalez
  3. Harvesting Hope: The Story of Cesar Chavez by Kathleen Krull and Yuyi Morales
  4. Separate is Never Equal: Sylvia Mendez and her Family’s Fight for Desegregation by Duncan Tonatiuh
  5. Friends from the Other Side by Gloria Anzaldua

Finally, if your children are a little bit more mature, consider sharing some videos about the Chicano movement from youtube. There are dozens of short clips, documentaries, and other resources to share our history. Remember knowledge is power. Our people have survived and thrived despite the obstacles and injustices.

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