I remember the first time I saw Chris Summitt at a Tucson Unified School District board meeting. It was April 26, 2011, and a group of students from UNIDOS had just taken over the dais and prevented the school board meeting from continuing. It was standing room only, and the crowd that filled the board room went into the lobby and out the front doors of the the district's administration building.
Inside, students and a few MAS supporters took up most of the very front seating area of the board room, while community members packed into the rest of the room — many forced to stand on chairs and on tables in the back in order to see what was taking place. That's when I saw Summitt — his hair was long and a bit wild at the time and he sported a beard, which only made it more interesting to watch him jump over chairs for every angle he could get in that room.
Those pictures ended up being some of the best documentation of what took place that night, and if Summitt was working for a publication at the time, easy Pulitzer nomination.
- Chris Summitt
- UNIDOS students after taking over the dais during the April 26, 2011 TUSD school board meeting.
Summitt wasn't alone taking photos at school board meetings and other MAS actions. Diana Uribe has been there, too, most often sitting quietly waiting for those perfect opportunities that present themselves to a photographer. She took wonderful photos of the late Judy Burns, one in particular we featured in our cover story about her untimely passing is a story itself.
- Diana Uribe
- TUSD board members Mark Stegeman, left, and Alexandre Sugiyama, having a "discussion" during a board meeting.
This summer, Summitt and Uribe decided to create an exhibit that goes back to the early stages of the movement as a way to show support for the dismantled classes and program, and call attention to other photographers they've seen at school board meetings and MAS actions. Other photographers featured in the show include Charley Dejolie, Sarah Gonzales, Wesley Narro-Castro, Marla Pacheco, and Jose Carlos Lopez.
The show opens Saturday, Aug. 11, from 6 to 9 p.m. at the Fluxx Gallery off Fourth Avenue at 414 East 9th St. Donations collected at the opening go to Save Ethnic Studies and the Raza Defense Fund, but it's also a chance to see some beautiful photography that tell an amazing story from local photographers who continue to document history. The show opens with a welcome and introduction of the work by the photographers, followed by a panel discussion with MAS teachers and students Maria Federico-Brummer, Lorenzo Lopez, Juliana Leon, and Lupita Blancart.
Continue reading after the jump for an interview with Uribe and Summitt.