07/18/2013 11:07 am ET

What Happened To In Lak Ech And Panche Be And The Movement For Mexican-American Studies?

What I remember most about the UNIDOS action that took place on April 26, 2011 is how fast it happened. That and the face of the Tucson Unified School District police officer as he tried to keep Leilani Clark from sitting down with the eight other students who took over the school board meeting that evening.

Tucson attorney Isabel Garcia stood on the other side of the dais and shouted, "Don't touch her. Don't you touch her." The officer let go, and Clark and the rest of the students proceeded to reach under their T-shirts to pull out the chains and locks they used to chain themselves to the board member's chairs and to each other.

That image—students rushing to the dais as if out of nowhere to shut down a vote on a measure proposed by board member Mark Stegeman that was intended to change the status of Mexican-American studies classes and make them electives—brought the MAS fight to a national audience.

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