California Educator

October/November 2019

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I N A U G U S T , the new Jose Antonio Vargas Elementary School was ded- icated in Mountain View — the second school in California and possibly the nation named for a Filipino American. While Itliong-Vera Cruz Middle School in Union City honors legendary labor leaders Larry Itliong and Philip Vera Cruz, Vargas Elementary honors the Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist and immigration rights activist. In 1993, 12-year-old Jose Antonio Vargas arrived in the U.S. to live with a family in Mountain View. In high school he told his choir teacher and CTA member Jill Denny that he couldn't go on a class trip to Japan because he was undocumented. (She immediately moved the trip to Hawaii, telling him, "We don't leave anyone behind.") School was always where he felt safe and accepted, Vargas said during his speech at the dedication. "This school, our school, represents the power of community — how to treat people with respect, how to show gratitude, … how to live your life with love, how to live a loving life of continuous education, that we can never stop learning, and we can never stop learning about and from each other," he said. Celebrate the month and Larry Itliong Day on Oct. 25 by teach- ing students about the work of Itliong and Vera Cruz (multiple resources are available for all grade levels), and Define American (, which Vargas founded to use the power of story to help transcend politics and shift the conversation about immigrants, identity and citizenship. Jose Antonio Vargas and the sign at the school bearing his name. Filipino American History Month o c t o b e r United Against Hate A M E R I C A N S A C R O S S the country report a rise in white nationalism and other bigoted extremism. Because schools are hubs of our commu- nities, they have become battlegrounds for extremist organizing and recruitment. Educators can learn how to push back with a new toolkit from the Western States Center, "Confronting White Nationalism in Schools." It shares strategies to counter white nationalist organizing and narratives through sample scenarios that schools frequently encounter, and offers advice for the school and wider community. The goal: to build schools where everyone feels valued, and where students grow to be engaged citizens of an inclusive democracy. Order your copy of the toolkit at schools. For more resources, go to unite-against-hate. 10 In the Know N E W S & N O T E S

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