Cynthia Diaz is an organizer for the ACLU of Arizona’s Demand to Learn campaign, aimed at ending exclusionary policies and practices that push children out of Arizona classrooms. Cynthia was born and raised in South Phoenix, as a first-generation American, daughter of immigrants (from an indigenous village in Guerrero, Mexico). Cynthia is a graduate of the University of Arizona with a dual-degree in Mexican-American Studies and Latin American Studies and a minor in Leadership Studies and Practices. In April 2014, Cynthia was successful in reuniting her family after her mother was deported in 2011 due to SB1070.
Presentations from Facing Race 2022
Demand to Learn: Ending School Pushout & Youth Criminalization
Every student deserves an education. Unfortunately, many schools across Arizona have adopted harsh disciplinary policies that push students out of school for common adolescent behavior. These policies often disproportionately impact Black, Brown, Native American, poor, LGBTQ, and disabled students. In these cases, students are unfairly punished and left without the necessary resources to continue their education. As a result, these policies decrease the likelihood that students will go on to higher education while increasing the chances of drop-out or involvement with the criminal justice system later in life.
The Demand to Learn campaign is demanding changes at the local and state levels to dramatically reduce Arizona's suspension and expulsion rates, increase the number of mental health professionals in schools, and ensure enrollment is simple and non-discriminatory. By working with families, students, and community members, we can collectively advocate for reforms that will help children stay in school.
This session will spend time working individually and collective to think about power structures and who has power to create change, and expose various strategies that exists. The participants will be able to hear from each other's commitment to advocate in their local school boards, at the legislation, and other spaces where change can be accomplished.Speakers: Cynthia Diaz