Our district says it cares about Arab students. Nonetheless, when it comes to resourcing schools to support them in meeting the needs of students and families… Lately, I’m hearing *crickets*.
After the election, Arab students came to my daughters’ school in tears, literally. They asked why the president hated them and their families. With a Muslim Ban, they are right to be fearful. They and their families are under attack. Now, more than ever we need to show students and families we have their backs.
And it will take more than safety-pin posters, and flowery letters to do this.
Standing up and with Arab families…
The Arab Resource Organizing Center (AROC) is an Bay Area organization dedicated to serving Arab families. It is currently under attack by an anti-Arab, anti-Muslim, Israel interest group. As a result, SFUSD has declined to renew its contract with them, thus leaving hundreds of families without much-needed support in our schools.
Supporting Arab students and families, also means supporting school staff. Our counselors, teachers and support staff are at wit’s end trying to mediate typical student conflicts and support students’ academic and emotional needs. Imagine how much harder that is when NO ONE ON STAFF speaks Arabic? Small incidents escalate, kids and families learn they are in their own, and misunderstandings by non-Arab students grows.
What Allyship really means…
I’m challenging SFUSD leadership to put its money where its mouth is. District leaders don’t get a cookie for just SAYING they care about Arab families. True allyship means standing up and with marginalized folks when it matters most–when it’s uncomfortable, when it disrupts the status quo, when it challenges power and privilege.
Join me in calling on the district to renew the MOU with AROC. Please take a minute today to contact our SFUSD representatives and ask them to renew AROC’s Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) so they can support Arab youth during this critical time.
ACTION ALERT: Stand up against racist attacks. Support AROC’s programming in SF Schools.
Contact the SF Board of Education today!
As many of you know, the Arab Resource and Organizing Center is honored to be the only community-based Arab organization working in San Francisco public schools, providing critical language and cultural programming for Arab youth across the city. Despite a positive assessment of our work by San Francisco Unified School District (SFUSD) staff and overwhelming support from the community, we have been informed that AROC’s Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with SFUSD continues to be held “under review” due to pressure from a rightwing, pro-Israel interest group call the Jewish Community Relations Council (JCRC).
We fought hard to get the Arabic language pathways program passed unanimously by the board of Education, enabling San Francisco students of opting into learning Arabic through K-12 public schools. But since 2015, AROC has had to defend this victory against the anti-Arab, anti-Muslim attacks of JCRC. AROC is firm in its commitment to anti-racism, anti Zionism and support of Arab and Muslim communities in the Bay Area., We ask you to help us stop the JCRC from kicking AROC out of San Francisco’s schools, and to stand alongside us in defending our communities against racist attacks.
For ten years AROC has run programming in multiple middle and high schools in San Francisco, and has rigorously supported Arab and Muslim families in the academic and social achievements of their children. In this time of increasing attacks against Arab and Muslim communities, it is imperative we uphold and defend the rights of Arab youth to see their history and culture reflected in their educational curriculum, and to feel supported and empowered in our school system.
We are all well-aware of the targeted attacks on Arabs and Muslims by the Trump administration and the demonization of anti-racist groups like Black Lives Matter as “terrorists” and “hate groups” by his supporters. We must not tolerate a continuation of these sorts of racist attacks by the JCRC here in San Francisco. We will continue to resist these assaults and defend our communities, and we ask you to join us.
Call, email, and tweet the SF Board of Education to demand they allow AROC to continue our Arab programming in SFUSD schools! As the JCRC escalates its attack against AROC, stand strong in support of our critical community-based work in our schools.
Click here to learn more about JCRC’s long history of targeting local community-based organizations, particularly those led by people color, when they express solidarity with Palestine.
Call the Interim Superintendent:
Name: Myong Leigh
Phone Number: (415) 241-6121
I’m calling to demand that you renew the MOU with AROC so they can continue to provide culturally relevant education for San Francisco students. Now more than ever, we must guarantee the right of Arab youth to see themselves reflected in their curriculum and to feel supported and empowered by the San Francisco school system.
Email the Board of Education Members and the Interim Superintendent
I’m writing to demand that you renew the MOU with AROC so they can continue to provide culturally relevant education for San Francisco students. Now more than ever, we must guarantee the right of Arab youth to see themselves reflected in their curriculum, and to feel supported and empowered by the San Francisco school system
Tweet the Board of Education Members
@( ), @SFUnified must stand with Arabs & Muslims against racist attacks and allow youth programming. Renew the MOU w/ @AROCBAYAREA
Mr. Shamann Walton, President @shamannwalton
Ms. Hydra Mendoza-McDonnell, Vice-President @HydraMendoza
Mr. Stevon Cook, Commissioner @StevonCook
Mr. Matt Haney, Commissioner @MattHaneySF
Dr. Emily M. Murase, Commissioner @emilymurase
Ms. Rachel Norton, Commissioner @rpnorton
Mr. Mark Sanchez, Commissioner @marksanchezsf
Mr. Myong Leigh, Interim Superintendent @
Copyright © 2017 Arab Resource & Organizing Center (AROC), All rights reserved.
What are you doing to support Arab families at your child’s school? What actions are you taking beyond lipservice? How are you fighting back agains islamophobia in our schools? Share your ideas in the comments below!
Ali Collins is an educator, community organizer and mom. She lives with her husband and twin girls in San Francisco, CA.
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