I had prepared a post to share some great news with you and then I remembered the news about the new curriculum recently approved by the Texas Board of Education. Evolution took a hit, as did separation of church and state, Civil Rights, and evidently, Latinos. As the NYTimes reported: Board member Mary Helen Berlanga stormed out of a Bd of Ed meeting saying, “They can just pretend this is a white America and Hispanics don’t exist.”
The new curriculum sets the tone for textbook publishers who will tailor their books to fit the new Texas reality. As Texas is the nation’s biggest textbook buyer their curriculum holds big time sway and what winds up in those books will likely be read by kids in, oh let’s say, New York, Florida, and Iowa.
The conservative side of the ideological battle over what we can call the ‘truth’ or ‘fact’ was led by Dr. Don McLeroy, a dentist.
History is such a contentious subject and who claims it, who writes it and from whose point of view its told, very often becomes the prism through which we understand the present. I’m constantly challenging myself to question my own narrative of my personal history and the greater public history that affects my life, our lives. Thankfully I have the support of people who I admire and deeply respect.
We are delighted to welcome Tony Hiss to the advisory committee. Hiss, author of “The Experience of Place”, is a visiting scholar at New York University and a highly regarded expert on the preservation of America’s landscapes. Hiss brings a valuable perspective on the influence of public spaces on the personal experience. I had the pleasure of interviewing him while covering New York City, he and the city have greatly influenced my approach and vision for the film. I’m grateful to both.
Elliott Young has also officially come on board. He is a professor of History at Lewis and Clark College, who specializes in transnational history. Elliott, author of Catarino Garza’s Revolution on the Texas-Mexico Border, has generously shared his knowledge and research material and we sure appreciate it and him.
They join Margo Gutierrez, at the Benson Latin American Collection at UT-Austin, who has supported my research and journalistic journeys for well over a decade. And Homero Vera curator of the Kenedy Ranch Museum, publisher of the El Mesteno and a good old fashioned and thorough ranch historian. Both supported me when I was finding my way and I am so deeply grateful.
I’m excited to announce that Tell’em Who You Are has formed a collaboration with the National Black Programming Consortium to host a series of multimedia presentations in Harlem. Check back for details.
And we are pleased to announce that Texas Folklife, an Austin-based cultural organization devoted to the preservation of folk culture and folklife has backed the film. This partnership means a lot to me as it is another step toward including the film in the canon of Texas and U.S. history.
I wouldn’t be a producer worth her sal if I didn’t take this opportunity to remind you: If you’re in Texas and want to support this film and multimedia project please send us your tax-deductible investment through them. You can also visit the support page on this blog.
A few upcoming events:
April 12: Tell’em Who You Are visits Hamilton College as part of their Border Series.
April 20: Drugs and the Border Wall will be the topic of conversation for a presentation for Columbia University Organization of Latin American Students, sponsored by the Institute for Latin American Studies.
In July, off to Tepoztlan for the Tepoztlan Institute for Transnational History of the Americas conference where I will also present the trailer and discuss the film. This is an exciting opportunity to meet with and learn from U.S. Mexican and Latin American historians.
For now, Texas is around the corner. I’ll be blogging and posting photos and video. Please check back often and please subscribe to the blog. You can drop a note at: firstname.lastname@example.org
Thanks for your time. I sure appreciate it.