From Lee and Low Books: How One Classroom Used TODOS IGUALES/ ALL EQUAL for a Social Justice Comic
In this guest blog post, educator Cindy Jenson-Elliott of the Nativity Prep Academy describes how she used Todos iguales/All Equal as an inspiration for her classroom’s social justice comic book project.
As a teacher in San Diego’s only free private school for resource-challenged, first-generation college-bound students, I have the privilege of working at a school focused on social justice. Most of our students are English-language learners, and their parents have come to this country seeking a better life for their children.
As a staff, we look for positive stories that teach about social change that comes through individual responsibility and action. The book TODOS IGUALES/ ALL EQUAL: Un Corrido de Lemon Grove/A Ballad of Lemon Grove by Christy Hale, uses corridos, ballads of social justice, to tell the story of the Lemon Grove Incident.
In TODOS IGUALES/ ALL EQUAL, Mexican-American parents successfully challenged the Lemon Grove school district’s policy of segregating Mexican-American from white children in 1930. It is a powerful story not only because students’ families around our nation continue to face discrimination today, but because parents stood up for their children’s rights against a powerful system and won.
Lemon Grove, where the Incident took place, is only ten minutes from our school, and the school and public library still exist on the site. Students were immediately engaged in this important historical event by visiting the site, reading about the incident, and watching a historical film created by our public television station.
We used this research to create a timeline of the incident. Then we divided the timeline into scenes, and each student chose a scene that they wanted to write and draw in order to tell the story.