You are herePatricia Hernandez: “Autonomous Education” from Chiapas to Mexico City – Urban-Zapatista Links

Patricia Hernandez: “Autonomous Education” from Chiapas to Mexico City – Urban-Zapatista Links


Saturday, November 7, 2009, 6:30 p.m. Mexico-US Solidarity Network invites you to join us for a discussion of popular education in Zapatista indigenous communities and the role of urban academics as resources in constructing an autonomous education system.

Patricia Hernández, a sociologist specializing in education & gender, has worked since 2001 with indigenous communities to develop their primary and secondary schools, following a model of "autonomous education." She worked intensively with indigenous teachers—called "education promoters" (promoter@s)—to develop the secondary school for indigenous children living in the Zona Selva Tzeltal. Local leaders, who oversaw the project, wanted the community's demands for land, food, peace, justice and democracy to serve as the content for classes on history, language and mathematics.

As a sociologist in Mexico City, Patricia spent 10 years teaching college courses in social sciences, economics and Mexican politics. Her organization, Organización Zapatista "Educación para la Liberación de Nuestros Pueblos" (OZELNP), formed in 1999 when Zapatista leadership first called for experienced educators (capacitador@s) to share knowledge with indigenous promoter@s and participate in building their educational programs. OZELNP is now also collaborating with a community organization in the outskirts of Mexico City to build an autonomous school, and seeking ways to bring the principles of autonomous education into the urban education system.

Patricia is also engaged in feminist dialogue with a diverse group of women committed to political change. Since October 2007 female unionists, students, housewives, teachers and indigenous migrants have come together in the "Weavers of Resistance" Women's Meeting Space to share the challenges they face as members of a social movement that Patricia says is "still permeated by a male-centered vision."

Both the "Weavers of Resistance" and OZELNP are members of the Other Campaign, the network of Mexican social movements initiated by the Zapatistas, and have campaigned to stop military & paramilitary aggression towards Chiapas indigenous communities.

Patricia will be joined by a representative from the Mexico Solidarity Network and both will discuss:

  • The meaning of "autonomous education" and her experience working in Zona Selva Tzeltal
  • The role of academics and other urban activists in the Other Campaign
  • The role of women in Mexican social movements

To find out more about how to bring this tour to your area, contact the Mexico Solidarity Network at 773-583-7728, or msn mexicosolidarity org

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