I received the following notice from Dr. Angela Valenzuela of the University of Texas. She has written extensively about diversity, exclusion, inclusion, equity, and history. Her original letter was sent to executives at the American Educational Research Association. She shared it with me, and I am sharing it with you.

As I am sure everybody knows, we are in the throes of a major fight here in Texas over DEI, academic freedom, CRT in higher education, tenure, and so much more and these folks are loaded with hubris—like they can just roll right over us. That’s what DeSantis is demonstrating. So I and others have been working for close to a year now in trying to unite our communities. We are doing this through an organization we’ve named, Black Brown Dialogues on Policy and now, so that we don’t become Florida by uniting as black and brown humanity. Intersectional. Intergenerational. Civil rights, Gen Z inclusive, white allies—and all people of good conscience. This is the Beloved Community, El Pueblo Amado.I just love how it sounds in Spanish.

There’s more that unites than divides us. We’ll have the program up soon, as well, on our website.

Next Saturday, March 11, BBDP is organizing a Virtual Town Hall on DEI and Ethnic Studies and all are welcome to attend:

MEDIA ADVISORY: Black Brown Dialogues on Policy hosts Virtual Town Hall—Sat. March 11, 2023 from 10:00 AM—4:30PM CST

We get going at 10AM CST and you can view it and post questions from our Facebook page:https://www.facebook.com/TeamBlackBrown

We hope to have the Virtual Town Hall program up on our website soon.

AERA luminaries Drs. Francesca Lopez, Christine Sleeter, Kevin Kumashiro and Stella Flores are part of the program. Texas legislators and two Gen Z panels, too.

Media industry professionals are producing it and we are using this Virtual Town Hall as an informational opportunity and organizing tool through which to, on the one hand, pass Ethnic Studies legislation (HB 45), and on the other, defeat terrible bills like those listed below.

HB 45 is about Ethnic Studies. It doesn’t make ES a requirement. Rather, it creates a pathway to a high school diploma through the taking of either Mexican American or African American Studies, courses that are currently electives in state policy at the high school level. Native American Studies and Asian American Studies were “passed,” along with the other two courses in 2018. I and so many others were involved in its passage. And the SBOE has waited for a more conservative board to get in to decide whether and when to align Native American Studies and Asian American Studies to state standards. They’re foot dragging. What we need is a law, or HB 45.

Check out these horrible bills.

The specific bills represent an attack on DEI in higher education: House Bill 1006, House Bill 1607, and House Bill 1046. I heard there was one more, too. We can’t keep up. But these are sufficiently draconian to be concerned.

House Bill 1006 seeks to “prohibit: (A) the funding, promotion, sponsorship, or support of: (i) any office of diversity, equity, and inclusion; and (ii) any office that funds, promotes, sponsors, or supports an initiative or formulation of diversity, equity, and inclusion beyond what is necessary to uphold the equal protection of the lawsunder the Fourteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution.”

House Bill 1607 is the higher education analogue to Senate Bill 3 last legislative session that some have dubbed the “Texas anti-CRT” bill, House Bill 1006.

HB 1046 seeks to prohibit what they’re calling “political tests” in higher education utilized in hiring decisions or in student admissions as a condition of employment, promotion, or admission, to identify a commitment to or make a statement of personal belief supporting any specific partisan, political, or ideological set of beliefs, including an ideology or movement that promotes the differential treatment of any individual or group based on race or ethnicity.

It will really make a difference if folks from all over the country attend to convey solidarity with our cause. Public statements, letters to Governor Greg Abbott and the Lt. Governor Dan Patrick in defense of Ethnic Studies, CRT, and DEI are also much appreciated.

I’m sure I missed some folks, so apologies if I left you out. We have a lot on our plates at the moment.

Hasta pronto! Buenas noches. May all have a blessed week.

Peace / paz,

Angela Valenzuela, Ph.D.

Co-founder and convener

Black Brown Dialogues on Policy