SANTA ANA, Calif. (August 13, 2021) – In 2016, the Orange County Human Relations Commission (OCHRC) released a statement endorsing Ethnic Studies Classes because it believed in affirming “the important, yet underrepresented, histories of our students and their communities as well as the contributions they have made to this country.” Today, this Commission continues to believe that there is value in ethnic studies courses especially since it cultivates a learning environment that promotes respect, understanding, and diversity of thought. Students of all ethnicities have an opportunity to learn about the experiences, cultures, and perspectives outside of their own and that is reflective of the diversity in the communities in Orange County and beyond.
COVID-19 laid bare a cascading crisis that revealed multiple vulnerabilities among and between communities that are deeply entangled, differentially distributed, and stretched across geographical borders. This moment in time has magnified and intensified racial animus as witnessed in the rise of anti-Asian hate since the start of the pandemic. The richness of American history lies within the woven fabric of all lives, cultures and histories that have contributed to its formation. Students engaging, connecting, and sharing experiences, histories, cultures – this enriches one’s lives and expands one’s worldview. Orange County Human Relations Commission believes that it is the key to building a better and more just future for all and thus supports Ethnic Studies curriculum to be taught in K-12 schools and that it be a required course for high school students.