You may recall the letter from a Cuban-American teacher in California that I posted last month stating the she might be reprimanded for taking a stand against a che guevara loving fellow teacher. You can read it right here.
All of you offered words of encouragement and support and this morning I once again heard from Sonia, our Goliath battling David in the left coast:
I just wanted to give you and your readers a little update.
It turns out that the teacher held debates in class on a day that I was not at school, regarding whether it was appropriate or not for me to have put up the poster about Che. It completely back-fired on him The students overwhelmingly supported me and my actions!!. Since I had not gone to school that day (I was at a professional development), the kids thought that I had been fired and rumors spread quickly. When I came back to school the next day, I had the best welcoming I could ever have imagined from my students. I was barely parking my car and kids were calling out to me, they came and hugged me, and where telling me how they “had my back” in his classroom. I have one student in particular that is a Che fan and is always kidding around with me leaving me little notes that say “Viva Che” and things like that, but we have had good dialogues. This student stood up for me and told the other teacher that if necessary he would get students to support me at any review board that he would report me to. I also had the “Students for labor and economic justice (SLEJ) club” and Student Council come see me and tell me how they stood beside me. It was an amazing experience.
After all of that, this teacher decided not to report me at all. Instead I offered to have lunch with him and we talked. Not necessarily about our political differences about Che, but about what is and is not appropriate for teachers to post or teach with regards to politics. I told him that I had no problem with helping the administration create policies but that those policies needed to be enforced across the board. The administration chose not to create any.
However, this incident has opened the door for a difference in perspective regarding Che. Several students have come to see me to hear the “other” side of the story. A few students mentioned that they had conversations at home about it. One girl told me that she didn’t know that her dad “hated” Che and that growing up in Mexico he felt that Che was forced down his throat. So in the end this conflict brought about many good things.
Lastly, I wanted to inform everyone that I have begun to organize an event that was suggested to me from one of your readers. We are trying to present a workshop on “The Truth about Che”. I would like to have educated speakers on the subject along with family members of victims or survivors to join us. I welcome emails (email@example.com) from anyone that can come to the L.A. area to join us as speakers or as guests. I think we will have this sometime in May.
And I thank everyone from the bottom of my heart for all of the inspiring messages. I was really feeling helpless and your readers made a huge impact and motivated me to stand strong. Thank you Thank you!!!
What else can I say. I love you guys.
Despite the seemingly overwhelming and ubiquitous pro-che bullshit out there, by standing fast together, we really are making a difference. They may be baby steps, but they are progressive steps nonetheless.
A huge thanks to all that commented and offered support and emailed offering to help in any way. And, if there’s any of you out there that want to help Sonia out with her “Truth About Che” workshop, email her to the address above or drop me a line.