• Santiago Hernandez • IDRA Newsletter • August 2021 •

Excerpt from Testimony Against SB 3 Presented to the Texas Senate State Affairs Committee

Editor’s Note: During its special session, the Texas Legislature considered a proposal, Senate Bill 3, as a companion to the classroom censorship (HB 3979) measure that was passed in the spring.

Senate Bill 3 will censor and oppress our classrooms and whitewash our social studies curriculum. It is essential we are taught history as it transpired and the truth in its entirety. In order to raise empathetic and well-rounded generations of young Texans, to heal and move forward from this country’s wrongdoings, we must be able to talk openly and honestly about these issues.

Critical race theory is a framework and/or a lens through which researchers analyze whether systemic racism exists and how it affects laws and public policy. This attempt to block students from learning the real truth of our history and limit their civic participation is censorship. These types of bills only divide our country further and are harmful for our students. Whitewashing our history books creates division rather than enabling the opportunity for discussion to unfold the diverse range and the truth of both history and current events.

All students deserve to have discussions around race, gender discrimination and current events as they learn what it means to be a member of our democracy.

How does that saying go? “Knowledge is power.” What happens when the knowledge is repressed? We students are deprived of the knowledge we need to comprehend why things are the way they are now. All students deserve to have discussions around race, gender discrimination and current events as they learn what it means to be a member of our democracy. Studying history allows us to observe and understand how people and societies behave. History provides us with the data that is used to create laws or theories of various aspects of society.

Sen. Bryan Hughes preaches about talking about our history, warts and all, but then proceeds to implement limitations on what educators can teach in their classrooms as written in this very vague bill. And it is still uncertain how TEA [Texas Education Agency] will interpret the law when creating the curriculum standards that will impact our future students.

Respectfully, I agree with Sen. José Menéndez. This bill is very disrespectful to our teachers and our students. To ignore the fact that we cannot discuss and deliberate the pain and trauma caused by the violence of all ill-treatment conducted by a specific group of people and multiple minoritized groups throughout the history of the United States and how this systemic issue continues to impact these groups now is a form of denial. Senators, how can we address a problem that we cannot even discuss in our classrooms? Please vote no on SB 3. Thank you for your time.

Get information on the Texas HB 3979 law, the proposed SB 3 and advocacy tools

Watch student testimony in our video gallery

Santiago Hernandez is a freshman at the University of Texas at Austin.

IDRA helped bring students to the Texas capitol, connect them with the media, and facilitate meetings with lawmakers and their staff.

[©2021, IDRA. This article originally appeared in the August 2021 IDRA Newsletter by the Intercultural Development Research Association. Permission to reproduce this article is granted provided the article is reprinted in its entirety and proper credit is given to IDRA and the author.]