CLES was started in the fall of 2021 following the Free Minds, Free People Conference where members of multiple Ethnic Studies-based organizations facilitated an assembly building on the momentum of political victories in states around the country. The subsequent right-wing and zionist attacks on teachers and Ethnic Studies curricula necessitated greater national organization in defense of decades of work.
As a coalition, we are committed to:
Creating a national grassroots organizing network with a sustainable infrastructure that practices consensus-based decision making and strategizes by prioritizing the struggles and victories for Ethnic Studies in local communities.
Establishing an intergenerational model of organizing for Ethnic Studies that centers youth participation, activism, and leadership.
Developing and supporting a national platform and a strategy for the communication and dissemination of a unified message related to Ethnic Studies, including a solidarity network and organizing strategy for rapid response to dehumanizing actions and pushback from zionism and right-wing zealots.
Developing, supporting, and promoting local, state, and national legislation and policy for liberatory and authentic Ethnic Studies.
Maintaining a clearinghouse for research and information on Ethnic Studies, Pre-K through college.
POINTS OF UNITY
Drawing from the original Ethnic Studies worldview rooted in the Third World Liberation Front’s Movement in the late 1960’s, we value the following:
Solidarity, Unity, & Empathy
Wellness & Wholeness
Hope, Love, & Respect
Humanization, Freedom, & Liberation
Cultivate empathy, community actualization, cultural perpetuity, self-worth, self-determination, and the holistic well-being of all participants, especially Black and Native People/s, along with all people of color,
Center and place a high value on pre-colonial, ancestral, indigenous, diasporic, familial, and marginalized knowledge.
Challenge imperialist/colonial hegemonic beliefs and practices on the ideological, institutional, interpersonal, and
Conceptualize, imagine, and build new possibilities for post-imperial life that promotes solidarity and collective narratives of transformative resistance, critical hope, and radical healing.
Celebrate and honor Native People/s of the land and communities of color by providing a space to share their stories of struggle and resistance, along with their intellectual and cultural wealth.
Critique empire and its relationship to white supremacy, racism, patriarchy, cis heteropatriarchy, capitalism, ableism, anthropocentrism, and other forms of power and oppression at the intersections of our society.
Connect ourselves to past and contemporary resistance movements that struggle for social justice on the global and local levels to ensure a truer democracy.