Westminster High School (Westminster CA) Dedicates New Learning Pavilion In Honor Of Sylvia Mendez – A Central Figure In Legal Fight To Integrate Local Schools Years Before Supreme Court’s Brown v. Board (1954)

Sylvia Mendez knows a thing or two about breaking barriers. But, as she noted Wednesday, this may have been her first time cutting a ceremonial ribbon.

Not far from where she and her brothers were denied enrollment at a school because of their Mexican heritage, setting in motion a landmark desegregation case with national reverberations, the civil rights icon visited Westminster High School to help dedicate a brand new learning pavilion named in her honor.

“I am very aware how much work went into putting this together,” Mendez said. “Muchísimas gracias. I am so grateful, and so thank you. Thank you very much.”

On an outside wall, a towering mural created by artist Chuck Adame — with the help of fellow artists Israel “Ezra” Cervantes and Jose Joaquin — captures both the vision of the pavilion and the significance of Mendez v. Westminster.

The dignified profile of Sylvia Mendez occupies the top left corner of the mural, along with the year her case was resolved. Also depicted are her parents, Gonzalo and Felicitas Mendez, the Presidential Medal of Freedom she was awarded in 2011, a blindfolded Lady Justice, books with the term “equality” written on their spines in multiple languages, and the Japanese kanji character for “harmony.” The latter symbolizes the family’s bond with members of the Munemitsu family who leased their farmland to the Mendezes after being ordered to an internment camp for Japanese Americans during World War II.

This story begins in 1943, also in Westminster. That’s where Gonzalo and Felicitas Mendez tried to enroll Sylvia and her brothers, Geronimo and Gonzalo, at 17th Street School, known as “the white school.”

But district officials directed the family to Hoover Elementary, a campus for Mexican American children. Sylvia Mendez, just 8 years old at the time, would later describe Hoover as “a terrible little shack” with dirt for a playground.

Her parents hired a local attorney, who later consolidated the case with four other Orange County families who were willing to take legal action. Mendez, et al v. Westminster claimed that 5,000 children throughout the county were unjustly harmed by unconstitutional segregation policies.

The families won a groundbreaking victory in the U.S. District Court in 1946 that was upheld by the U.S. 9th Circuit Court of Appeals the following year. On May 17, 1954, the U.S. Supreme Court issued its Brown v. Board of Education decision, which asserted that all laws promoting school segregation were unconstitutional.

Gonzalo Mendez died in 1964, and Felicitas Mendez died in 1998. In accordance with her mother’s wishes, Sylvia Mendez has spent much of her post-retirement life speaking publicly about the case and talking to students about the importance of education.

She’s now 85, and there is little doubt that her efforts to raise awareness have been successful, expanding the case’s profile across the country.

The Santa Ana Unified School District opened Gonzalo Felicitas Mendez Fundamental Intermediate School in 2000. More recently, the Westminster School District rededicating its central office with a marquee that reads, “Westminster School District, In Honor of La Familia Mendez.” And last year, Felicitas Mendez became the subject of a Google Doodle.

Meanwhile, OCDE has teamed up with the city of Westminster to construct a local trail, park and monument that will honor Mendez v. Westminster and its legacy.

“In Mendez v. Westminster there was no violence, I have to tell you,” she said. “People came together to right a wrong. It took my parents and the other families a lot of courage. This court case is all about the struggle for equal education and for basic human rights.”

Source: OCDE Newsroom

First Nations Finds 751 Unmarked Graves At Saskatchewan Residential School Site, ‘Genocide Empowered By Colonial Structures’

The unmarked graves of more than 751 people have been discovered at the site of the former Marieval Indian Residential School in Saskatchewan, after hundreds of remains were found in other provinces in the past month.

“We are seeing the results of the genocide that Canada committed — genocide on our treaty land,” Federation of Sovereign Indigenous Nations Chief Bobby Cameron said in a virtual press conference Thursday.

Cameron said the burial site on Cowessess First Nation, 90 minutes east of Regina, is evidence of “a crime against humanity, an assault on First Nation people.”

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau released a statement shortly after the announcement saying he is “terribly saddened” by the news. “My heart breaks for the Cowessess First Nation, and for all Indigenous communities across Canada,” he said.

The news comes after Tk’emlúps te Secwépemc First Nation announced in May that the remains of 215 children were found on the grounds of the former Kamloops Indian Residential School. Researchers say hundreds of unmarked graves are also believed to be located in Manitoba related to the residential school system in that province.

There has been considerable political pressure in recent years on federal party leaders to accept the past treatment of Indigenous peoples in Canada as genocide, including the nationwide residential school system removed children from their families to enroll them in a system that strove to “take the Indian out of the child.”

A 2019 inquiry into missing and murdered Indigenous women concluded what has happened was genocide.

“This genocide has been empowered by colonial structures, evidenced notably by the Indian Act, the Sixties Scoop, residential schools, and breaches of human and Inuit, Métis and First Nations rights, leading directly to the current increased rates of violence, death, and suicide in Indigenous populations,” read the report.

Following the discovery in Kamloops, Trudeau said earlier this month he accepted the conclusion of a 2019 inquiry that “what happened amounts to genocide.”

“Removing headstones is a crime in this country,” he said. “We are treating this like a crime scene.” Delorme suggested through the oral history of community members, the headstones were removed by representatives of the Catholic Church in the 1960s.

Small flags, 751 of them, now dot the site of the former Marieval Indian Residential School, each marking the remains of a body. Delorme said both adults and children are believed to be buried in the graves.

Because of poor record keeping, it’s hard to pinpoint what the cause of death was for many students who disappeared at residential schools. Survivors have said some students who were hospitalized never returnedinadequate food supply left some children more vulnerable to disease, and others were threatened with death if they reported physical and sexual abuse.

Source: Politico

Student Denied Diploma At Asheboro High School For Wearing Mexican Flag Over Gown

A North Carolina high school student was denied his diploma Thursday after he draped the Mexican flag over his graduation gown.

The 2021 graduate of Asheboro High School walked up to the stage with his classmates during their graduation ceremony. When his name was called, he walked across the stage to shake the principal’s hand and receive his diploma holder. The ceremony was being live-streamed to Facebook, and the student can be seen wearing the flag of Mexico across his shoulders.

The video shows the graduate reaching for his diploma holder before being stopped by a school administrator. She hesitates to give him the holder and can be seen talking back and forth with the student. The announcer can be heard continuing to read off the names of graduates as the student and administrator spoke about the flag. The student then begins to take off the flag, but he struggles to remove it. He stops when she eventually handed him the diploma holder.

After the ceremony when the student went to pick up his actual diploma, the school allegedly refused to give him the document and asked him to apologize for disrupting the ceremony, WDTN reported.

When the live-streamed video was posted to social media, viewers accused the school administrators of being racist, WXII reported. The statement from the school addressed these allegations.

“We strongly support our students’ expressions of their heritage in the appropriate time and place,” it said. “The accusations being made about our school and district are disheartening. We work with each student daily to ensure they receive rigorous instruction, equitable opportunity, and compassionate care in a safe and inviting learning environment. Across our school and district, we are passionate about seeing all students succeed.”

The Asheboro High School commended the student for his hard work and achievements during his time at the school. The district said they are working with the student and his family to make sure he receives his diploma.

Source: Newsweek

Canada Mourns And Demands Action Following Discovery Of 215 Children’s Remains At Found At Residential School Ran By The Catholic Church

A mass grave containing the remains of 215 children has been found in Canada at a former residential school set up to assimilate indigenous people.

The children were students at the Kamloops Indian Residential School in British Columbia that closed in 1978.

The discovery was announced on Thursday by the chief of the Tk’emlups te Secwepemc First Nation.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said it was a “painful reminder” of a “shameful chapter of our country’s history”.

The First Nation is working with museum specialists and the coroner’s office to establish the causes and timings of the deaths, which are not currently known.

Rosanne Casimir, the chief of the community in British Columbia’s city of Kamloops, said the preliminary finding represented an unthinkable loss that was never documented by the school’s administrators.

Canada’s residential schools were compulsory boarding schools run by the government and religious authorities during the 19th and 20th Centuries with the aim of forcibly assimilating indigenous youth.

Kamloops Indian Residential School was the largest in the residential system. Opened under Roman Catholic administration in 1890, the school had as many as 500 students when enrolment peaked in the 1950s.

The central government took over administration of the school in 1969, operating it as a residence for local students until 1978, when it was closed.

What do we know about the remains?

The Tk’emlups te Secwepemc First Nation said the remains were found with the help of a ground-penetrating radar during a survey of the school.

“To our knowledge, these missing children are undocumented deaths,” Ms Casimir said. “Some were as young as three years old.”

“We sought out a way to confirm that knowing out of deepest respect and love for those lost children and their families, understanding that Tk’emlups te Secwepemc is the final resting place of these children.”

What reaction has there been?

The reaction has been one of shock, grief and contrition.

“The news that remains were found at the former Kamloops residential school breaks my heart,” Mr Trudeau wrote in a tweet.

What were residential schools?

From about 1863 to 1998, more than 150,000 indigenous children were taken from their families and placed in these schools.

The children were often not allowed to speak their language or to practise their culture, and many were mistreated and abused.

A commission launched in 2008 to document the impacts of this system found that large numbers of indigenous children never returned to their home communities.

The landmark Truth and Reconciliation report, released in 2015, said the policy amounted to “cultural genocide”.

Source: BBC

Campus Tour | Orange Coast College

Orange Coast College’s 164-acre campus is located in Costa Mesa just minutes from Southern California’s beautiful beaches. Founded in 1947, with classes beginning in 1948, OCC has grown into one of the nation’s largest — and finest — community colleges, enrolling more than 25,000 students each semester.

OCC features exceptional facilities and the latest in technology and offers more than 135 academic and career programs, including one of the nation’s largest and most acclaimed public nautical programs. Nearly half the students on campus are enrolled in one of OCC’s Career and Technical Education programs.

OCC ranks first out of Orange County’s community colleges in the number of students it transfers to the University of California and California State University systems. Over the past decade, thousands of OCC students have transferred to UC and CSU campuses. Additionally, many Orange Coast students go on to transfer to private colleges and universities within California and across the nation.

A member of the Coast Community College District, OCC offers fall, winter, spring, and summer classes and is fully accredited by the Western Association of Schools and Colleges.

Retired Fortune 100 Executive Thomas B. Walsh Answers To Why So Many People Settle For Low-Paying Jobs With Expensive College Degrees

“Settle” for low-paying jobs?

You can’t be serious, Dude.

There was a time in the US when you could get a great job if you earned a bachelor’s degree in “anything.”

The catch is that JFK was president at the time.

Most parents (and their students) are oblivious to how college really works today.

In some ways it is hard to blame them. Colleges and universities have a powerful public relations team, pushing the message 24/7 that “college is for all.”

The team is made up of educators, guidance counselors, financial aid officers, politicians, pop culture, special interest groups–like the College Board, and college administrators—who are the biggest beneficiaries. Their influence is everywhere.

Many, many years ago, my “anything” degree, Philosophy, was from a state university in fly-over country, better known for its football team than scholarship. (As I vaguely remember, my GPA wasn’t that robust either.)

However, I had a successful career in IT, and retired as an executive from a Fortune 100 company.

The bad news is that college doesn’t work that way anymore.

Years ago very few high school grads (7%) went on to college. (They tended to be the “smart kids.”) If you graduated with a degree in anything, i.e. English, Gender Studies, Comp-lit, Philosophy, etc., you could get a good job.

Over the years a greater and greater portion of high school grads answered the call,

“You have to go to college!”

We are now at 45%. Probably half these teenagers don’t have the “academic firepower” to handle a serious, marketable major.

Back in the day having a college degree was a big deal. By the year 2000, the quality of a college education had deteriorated significantly, and college grads were a-dime-a-dozen. There were too many graduates, but not enough suitable jobs.

Then we got hit with the Great Recession of 2008.

In the US almost anyone can find a college or university that will accept them and their parent’s money.

You might even manage to graduate with some degree or another.

The problem comes when you try to find a real job. Employers aren’t stupid. They are going to sort through that gigantic stack of resumes and find the smart kids.

Today college is a competition for a relatively few (1,100,000) well-paying, professional jobs. Every year colleges and universities churn out 1,900,000 graduates with shiny new bachelor’s degrees. We don’t know the exact number, but a heck of a lot of minimum wage jobs are held by young people with college degrees in stuff like English, Gender Studies, Comp-lit, Philosophy, etc.

Given the high cost of college, that just doesn’t make any economic sense.

PS

The “Anything” Degree

Two decades ago in his book, Another Way To Win, Dr. Kenneth Gray coined the term “one way to win.” He described the OWTW strategy widely followed in the US as:

  • “Graduate from high school.
  • Matriculate at a four-year college.
  • Graduate with a degree in anything.
  • Become employed in a professional job.”

Dr. Gray’s message to the then “academic middle” was that this was unlikely to be a successful strategy in the future. The succeeding twenty years have proven him inordinately prescient and not just for the “academic middle.”

The simple explanation is that it comes down to “supply” (graduates) and “demand” (suitable jobs).

Fifty years ago only seven percent of high school graduates went on to college. In post-WW II America our economy was booming while the economies of many European and Asian countries were–only slowly–being rebuilt. The “Law of Supply and Demand” strongly favored the freshly minted college graduate.

Parents and students noticed how college really paid off, and the “great gold rush” to the halls of higher learning began.

Today my local, Midwest run-of-the-mill high school sends eighty percent of their graduates on to college.

Most of them are going to be very disappointed.

Source: Quora

International Student At ESSEC Business School In Singapore Sparks Outrage With Racist Instagram Posts

A foreign student studying abroad in Singapore faced massive backlash this past weekend after a photograph that she posted on Instagram for Chinese New Year earlier in 2020 went viral for all the wrong reasons.

The student, Louise, has since issued an apology on her now-private Instagram account, and Essec Business School, where she studies, has said that they are “looking into the situation”.

On Friday (Dec. 4), Instagram user @beforeik.o posted a screenshot of an Instagram story she had made of Louise’s post, which showed the French student pulling back her eyes with her fingers into a slit shape while wearing a cheongsam.

@beforeik.o’s Instagram post also included a screenshot of another photo posted by Louise for Chinese New Year, which included the words “ching chong” in the caption.

A person also commented, “So chong!! So coronavirus!!”

In her Instagram post, @beforeik.o also shared several screenshots of direct messages (DMs) in which Louise claimed that she was “clearly not racist” and that the photo was “just for fun”.

Louise pointed to the fact that Chinese people may get surgery on their eyes to have more “European” features, and asked whether that would be considered racism.

@beforeik.o replied that Louise should educate herself, remove the post, and apologise “before this whole thing blows up”.

Louise, however, doubled down and claimed to have a master’s degree, as well as a diploma from Harvard University about ethnicity in the workplace.

On Saturday (Dec. 5), the official Instagram page of Essec Business School commented on @beforeik.o’s Instagram post, writing that they are “looking into the situation and will take appropriate action”.

Source: Mothership

Faizon Love: Bruce Lee Would Beat Michael Jai White In A Street Fight; Deserves Respect For Teaching Martial Arts In Oakland During Height Of The Black Panthers Movement

In this clip, Faizon Love and Vlad continued their discussion about Bruce Lee and Michael Jai White. Faizon reiterated that martial arts is more about skill and technique than brute strength, which he thinks would pose an impediment for Michael if he were to fight someone like Bruce Lee. Faizon also pointed out that Bruce Lee deserves his respect for teaching martial arts in Oakland during the height of the Black Power era which wasn’t the environment for someone who couldn’t hold their own.

Scientists Reverse Age-Related Vision Loss, Eye Damage From Glaucoma In Mice

Harvard Medical School scientists have successfully restored vision in mice by turning back the clock on aged eye cells in the retina to recapture youthful gene function.

The team’s work, described Dec. 2 in Nature, represents the first demonstration that it may be possible to safely reprogram complex tissues, such as the nerve cells of the eye, to an earlier age.

In addition to resetting the cells’ aging clock, the researchers successfully reversed vision loss in animals with a condition mimicking human glaucoma, a leading cause of blindness around the world.

The achievement represents the first successful attempt to reverse glaucoma-induced vision loss, rather than merely stem its progression, the team said. If replicated through further studies, the approach could pave the way for therapies to promote tissue repair across various organs and reverse aging and age-related diseases in humans.

“Our study demonstrates that it’s possible to safely reverse the age of complex tissues such as the retina and restore its youthful biological function,” said senior author David Sinclair, professor of genetics in the Blavatnik Institute at Harvard Medical School, co-director of the Paul F. Glenn Center for Biology of Aging Research at HMS and an expert on aging.

Sinclair and colleagues caution that the findings remain to be replicated in further studies, including in different animal models, before any human experiments. Nonetheless, they add, the results offer a proof of concept and a pathway to designing treatments for a range of age-related human diseases.

“If affirmed through further studies, these findings could be transformative for the care of age-related vision diseases like glaucoma and to the fields of biology and medical therapeutics for disease at large,” Sinclair said.

Source: Medical Xpress