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13.9: Summary/Review

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    • Mario Alberto Viveros Espinoza-Kulick & Kay Fischer

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    In this chapter, we have explored the dynamics and outcomes of social movements, which drive the history of Ethnic Studies both in terms of its content and pedagogy. Movements for racial justice and decolonization have been critical in advancing civil rights, Indigenous sovereignty, improved labor conditions, and transnational solidarity. These movements have inspired change and continue in our contemporary society as agents for change and transformation. Solidarity and resistance bring together communities, and address the root causes of inequity and exclusion.

    In learning about various frameworks for action, we can see that intersectionality and decolonization share many principles with other anti-oppressive systems. However, diverse communities must always leverage the resources available in their own local contexts. For instance, we learned about the role of organizing mutual support for marginalized communities within social movements, like the Black Panther Party’s free breakfast for neighborhood children. Developing greater knowledge of how activists have worked toward change creates new possibilities for students, advocates, and scholars to envision and bring about more just and equitable societies, centered on the principles of anti-racism, decolonization, and solidarity. The goal of sovereignty and agency is shown visually in Figure \(\PageIndex{1}\), which represents a fist emerging out of the waves of the ocean, along with the words Self-Determination.

    A fist of waves emerges in a rocky sea, with the word, “Self-Determination”
    Figure \(\PageIndex{1}\): Self-Determination. (CC BY-NC-ND 3.0; Aaron Hughes via JustSeeds)

    Key Terms

    • Indigenous sovereignty: This refers to the self-determination and legal standing of Native and Indigenous peoples. Sovereignty refers to the historical relationship between peoples and governments and is an explicitly political project that concerns land rights, treaties between tribes and other governments, and the political standing of Native Americans and Indigenous peoples.
    • Disability Justice Framework: A framework for social justice organizing centering people with disabilities focused on representation, advocacy, and social change.
    • Allies: Allies are members of a dominant group who take an active role in understanding their privilege and working to support members of a marginalized group. This practice builds relationships across differences and encourages listening, learning from mistakes, and continually taking action. Allies take action without centering their own identity or seeking validation of their allyhood. Allyship is one component of acting in solidarity against systems of marginalization.
    • Accomplices: Accomplices go beyond supporting members of a marginalized group to take sustained and proactive action, such as when white people actively work toward anti-racism, men commit to ending patriarchy, and straight/cisgender people work against the oppression of LGBTQ+ people. Accomplices have already developed substantial knowledge and cultural humility to align their actions with the leadership and goals of marginalized group members. Another term is co-conspirator. This refers to the necessity of working actively in continual collaboration with people of color and other marginalized groups and taking active risks to unsettle the status quo.
    • Boycott: A nonviolent action of protest, boycotts call on the masses to abstain for commercial services in order to make an economic impact. The hope is that pressure from boycotts will push those in power to negotiate with the protestors, leading to significant social transformation. For example, Black domestic workers led the Montgomery Bus Boycott in order to challenge racial segregation in public transportation. And the United Farm Workers movement urged consumers to boycott grapes in order to pressure agricultural corporations to negotiate fair contracts with farm workers.
    • Civil Rights Movement: Considered one of the most effective mass movements, the Civil Rights Movement in the United States ushered in a series of changes to laws and practices that led to the dismantling of the Jim Crow South and legal racial segregation of schools, businesses, and public transportation. The movement also led to instituting voting rights for African Americans. The Reverend Martin Luther King, Jr. emerged as a leader for this movement, although there were many others who haven’t been as widely recognized for their leadership such as Bayard Rustin, Fannie Lou Hamer, Ella Baker, and Septima Clark. The Civil Rights Movement and Dr. King utilized nonviolent actions including sit-ins, protests, and marches.
    • “Serve-the-people” programs: A core objective for various liberatory movements of the 1960s and '70s, the Asian American movement, Black Panthers, Brown Berets, American Indian Movement, and the Young Lords organized services for communities of color that the government failed to provide, such as access to affordable housing, healthcare, labor rights, free breakfast programs, women's rights and more.
    • Workers centers: Workers centers are places and organizations that support and organize with immigrant workers who are particularly vulnerable to exploitation, such as undocumented immigrant laborers, especially women. Abuses include wage theft, no labor rights, sexual harassment, and more. These centers, like Mujeres Unidas y Activas (MUA) were established upon the arrive of immigrants with community organizing backgrounds. They work various issues including preventing deportations, supporting sanctuaries, and establishing workers rights like the Domestic Workers Bill of Rights.
    • Domestic Workers Bill of Rights: A set of basic workplace rights and protections for domestic workers that are too often not considered. Some of these rights and protections include overtime pay, paid sick leave, legal protection from harassment and discrimination, set safety practices, rest and privacy. New York passed such a bill in 2010 and a Bill of Rights at the federal level has been introduced.
    • The Bracero Program: The Bracero Program (1942 - 1964) started as a joint agreement between the U.S. and Mexico that led to the “importation” of male agricultural laborers, also referred to as braceros, from Mexico to the U.S. to help fill the labor shortage during WWII. The second initiation of recruitment resulted from a U.S. executive order, and was essentially a guest worker program where braceros were hired cheaply to work temporarily and returned to Mexico.
    • The Delano Grape Strike: The Delano Grape Strike of 1965 is arguably the most important and successful farm workers strikes in California labor history. Initiated by Filipinx labor leader, Larry Itliong, he convinced the Mexican union to soon join, led by César Chávez and Dolores Huerta. The strike ended up lasting five long years, and strikers lost their homes and were met with violence and arrests. Organizers orchestrated a grape boycott campaign, encouraging millions of consumers to boycott purchasing grapes at their local supermarket until a deal was made with the United Farm Workers (a union created from Filipinx and Mexican unions). In 1970 multiple growers signed contracts with the UFW, raising wages, securing hiring provisions around seniority when hiring workers, and placing strict protocols on the use of harmful pesticides.
    • "Comfort Women": “Comfort Women” is a euphemistic phrase used to describe around 200,000 women and girls (actual numbers might be twice as high or more) who were coerced into sexual slavery by the Japanese Imperial Army in occupied territories before and during WWII (1931-1945). This was the largest institutionalized system of sexual slavery in the twentieth century. Girls as young as 10 years old and women from at least 13 countries were taken, including: Korea, China, the Philippines, Taiwan, Indonesia, Vietnam, Thailand, Burma, Malaysia, Okinawa, East Timor, Guam, and Australia. Today, surviving "Comfort Women," affectionately called "grandmothers" and their supporters have demanded a formal apology and reparations from the Japanese government. Some members of the government, and their supporters, continue to actively deny this history and suppress calls for justice in Japan and across the globe, including in the U.S.
    • Environmental Justice: These are movements led by communities of color and Indigenous peoples calling out the disastrous effects of centuries of environmental destruction. Environmental racism calls attention to how low-income communities of color are targets of pollution, including the dumping or leaking of hazardous waste, air and water contamination, and more. Environmental justice movements work to address the overlapping systems of environmental exploitation and racism.

    Discussion Questions

    Journal Prompts

    1. You've been introduced to several frameworks for action in this chapter. Summarize 2-3 key points for one of the frameworks that you're most drawn to. Then, explain why you're interested in that framework. If you've already been engaged in activism, how have you applied this framework of action to your own activist work? Or how might you want to?
    2. What is significant when learning that the farmworkers movement was multiracial with Mexican and Filipinx farmers and leaders? Why do you think that more mainstream narratives around the farmworkers' movement don't include (or minimize the roles of) Dolores Huerta or Filipinx leaders?
    3. Analyze two reasons why we should learn about the history of the domestic workers' movement and the role that women of color played in campaigns for workers' rights and justice.

    Class Activities

    • In this activity, we will explore what it means to be an ally and an accomplice. Your groups will generate different responses to a specific scenario.
      • In the groups, roleplay the scenario to generate responses that are meaningful and authentic.
        • For a small group, use one scenario and have two groups. The first group will discuss the ally response to the scenario, and the second group will discuss the accomplice response to the scenario.
        • With larger groups, you may want to create multiple ally and accomplice groups. Then they can be paired together for a comparison of their perspectives before returning to the large group to debrief.
    • Example Scenarios:
      • You are shopping with a friend at a clothing store, and the clerk is continuing to follow them and watch their movements. Consider how the dynamics between your friend and the clerk may be impacted by your actions.
      • While talking with a group of friends, someone mentions that they were surprised that their Black teacher had gone to a prestigious university and was very “articulate.”
    • One of the main goals of political protests can be to raise awareness and influence how people perceive different social issues. Activist signs are typically carried at protests and usually include a slogan or phrase, along with some artistic representation or design. Some are quite simple, with a phrase or word in black Sharpee on a piece of ripped cardboard, or printed signs showing a group’s logo or candidate’s name. Others are quite elaborate, include mixed media, and make use of humor, puns, satire, and critique to evoke an emotional response and ensure retention.

    This page titled 13.9: Summary/Review is shared under a CC BY-NC 4.0 license and was authored, remixed, and/or curated by Mario Alberto Viveros Espinoza-Kulick & Kay Fischer (ASCCC Open Educational Resources Initiative (OERI)) .