Monday, February 6, 2012

Baldenegro: Demand a Public Apology from Michael Hicks

Posted By on Mon, Feb 6, 2012 at 4:00 PM

Salomón Baldenegro Sr. recently shared his perspective on an interview Tucson Unified School District board member Michael Hicks did on the Garrett Lewis A.M. show on KNSR 97.1 in which Hicks lied about where he was during the school board meeting on April 26, 2011. This is the school board meeting in which the student group UNIDOS took over the dais and prevented the school board meeting from continuing.

In light of a recent editorial from Hicks published in the Sunday morning daily, Baldenegro is right to question Hicks' motivations and ask the greater community to do the same. Here's the Three Sonorans' video Baldenegro refers to that shows Hicks smiling, standing with other board members, talking to media and talking with TUSD school board candidate Miguel Ortega — a room Hicks said he was too scared to enter:

Estimadas/os: Lying is the native language of the Mexican haters. The entire campaign against Mexican American Studies in the Tucson Unified School District is based on lies and misrepresentations (e.g., that the courses preach the overthrow of the U.S. government, etc.). Nothing illustrates that strategy clearer than the following:

Tucson Unified School Board member Michael Hicks was on radio station KNST 97.1 (the Garrett Lewis A.M. show) on February 2 purposely misrepresenting the events of April 26, (2011) when MAS students engaged in a non-violent action at the TUSD board room.

Hicks’ assertions on the radio program lead the listeners to believe that he did not enter the TUSD board room on April 26 because…

The student demonstration was violent…and

He was scared…he felt endangered.

And who can blame him? That’s a good and reasonable reason not to enter a room, right?

Of course it is, if it were true…

But it isn’t!

Read more after the jump.

Hicks knows he entered the board room on April 26 and was never endangered!

First, consider Hicks’ exact words as he uttered them on the radio:

“For me, it wasn’t a peaceful demonstration.”

“We felt endangered.”

“I don’t think it was very safe at all.”

“I don’t think I would have been safe if I would have went (sic) into the room”

Hicks’ words leave the clear and intended impression that he never entered the TUSD board room because he felt endangered and was scared…

And then,

View the video embedded in Abie Morales’ (“Three Sonorans”) article, which clearly … unequivocally … unmistakably … irrefutably — well, you get the point — shows Hicks in the TUSD board room, calmly talking to community members, students, and media people on the evening of April 26. (The person in the blue shirt with whom Hicks had an animated but obviously civil conversation — in the board room — is Miguel Ortega.)

A misrepresentation? A lie? Same thing, according to “The Random House Dictionary of the English Language.” At Page 827, said dictionary gives as the definition of the noun “lie”:

“1. a false statement made with deliberate intent to deceive; 2. something intended or serving to convey a false impression.”

That a school board member—who took an oath to do what’s right and who by definition is a role model for the students in the district—publicly utters purposeful misrepresentations about students who are his charges is so outrageous as to be breathtaking!

And it raises the real and very legitimate questions:

* What else has he misrepresented as he makes decisions that affect thousands upon thousands of students?

* How can the public…Hicks’ fellow board members…TUSD staff, etc., know when, or if, he is telling the truth?

Of course, those of us who were at the school board meeting on April 26 — and many of you receiving this were — don’t need to see Abie’s video to know that Hicks indeed did enter the board room: We saw him — and Superintendent John Pedicone, board members Adelita Grijalava and [the late] Judy Burns — in the board room. (As noted above, Hicks had an animated but civil conversation — in the board room — with Miguel Ortega [in blue shirt].) And all were safe.

The harm done by Hicks’ false implication is immeasurable! Hicks knowingly and purposely developed in the minds of the radio-program listeners (which probably number in the thousands) a false image of the MAS students as being violent, threatening, and menacing to the point of preventing him from entering the TUSD board room on April 26.

How does one un-ring that bell?

What we/you can/should do:

We should inundate Hicks with e-mails — and CC the other TUSD Board members as well as Superintendent John Pedicone — demanding a PUBLIC APOLOGY for his purposeful misrepresentation of our students…students whom Hicks took an oath to protect and care for!!!!

Hicks’ false utterances may be protected by the First Amendment, but for a school board member to go around purposely misrepresenting official business (can’t get more official than a school board meeting) and demonizing students by knowingly painting a FALSE picture of them as being menacing and violent is just plain wrong!!! It is an outrage!

Anticipating the “free speech” defense of Hicks:

We’re not asking that Hicks’ right of free speech be curtailed.

We’re asking that he be responsible in his exercise of his right of free speech…

We’re asking that he do the right and decent thing and apologize for having misrepresented the events at the TUSD board meeting of April 26…

We’re asking that he stop demonizing our students.

Not calling out the Mexican haters on their lies and misrepresentations enables them and gives them license to continue doing it, pure and simple.

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