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Block Party Celebrates Neighborhood Diversity

Cultural, educational workshops and music in store

Ethnic Studies Now! Coalition hopes to introduce ethnic studies by 2020.
Ethnic Studies Now! Coalition hopes to introduce ethnic studies by 2020. (Courtesy photo)

The Ethnic Studies Now! Coalition of Santa Barbara (ESNSB) invites community members to its annual block party, a cultural exchange celebrating the multiculturalism and diversity of neighborhoods and society, noon-10 p.m. Saturday, May 26, at Casa de la Raza, 601 E. Montecito St.

The free party will feature educational workshops, food and music. Local musical celebrities such as ALAS, Azlan Underground, Jazz Villains, Danza Mexica Chahtemoc, and the Chumash Inter-tribal Singers will perform song, art and spoken word.

Information will be available from a variety of grassroots organizations providing support and services for residents.

Ethnic studies are an approved pedagogy that boosts student performance across the board. Research has shown ethnic study classes build self-esteem and pride in communities.

“ESNSB will in effect raise our Raza to new levels in our society,” said Eddie Gonzales.

“We need to take control of our schools to better ourselves by having ethnic studies for everyone,” said SBCC student leader Sage Gaspar.

Chumash youth activist  Casmali Lopez maintains that, “self-determination and self- reliance and building a community collective like Ethnic Studies Now! is the first step in giving us a voice and empowering ourselves.”

ESNSB works to modify the existing graduation requirements for the Santa Barbara Unified School District’s (SBUSD) to include a semester-long UC/CSU transferrable ethnic studies course of five units.

ESNSB seeks to introduce ethnic studies by 2020 so all subsequent graduating classes will complete one ethnic studies course prior to commencement.

ESNSB supports all efforts to improve the quality of education in public schools and teaches the value of common historical roots by addressing the diversity at the heart of American democracy.

— Eddie Gonzales for Ethnic Studies Now! Coalition of Santa Barbara.


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