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Daughter of Hector P. Garcia voices concern over Senate Bill 3 which makes KKK, Civil Rights teachings non-mandatory

Civil rights organizations are holding a rally to speak out against the bill at Texas A&M Corpus Christi on Saturday.

CORPUS CHRISTI, Texas — This weekend, local civil rights organizations are holding a rally in Corpus Christi to speak out against Senate Bill 3.

That bill which has already passed the Texas Senate would limit the list of topics teachers must address in public schools, lessons on the Ku Klux Klan for example, the civil rights movement, and Women's suffrage would no longer be mandatory.

But those lessons only recently became mandatory, during the regular legislative session that ended in May. In practice, the state has never required teachers to address the topics included in that House Bill 3979 because school has not been in session since the governor signed the bill on June 15. 

That law does not take effect until Sept. 1, but lawmakers want to rewrite the legislation and pare down the list of mandatory lessons before school starts. 

They would replace the already-approved HB 3979 with Senate Bill 3. 

Among those voicing their disapproval of Senate Bill 3 is the daughter of the late Dr. Hector P Garcia.

For Cecilia Garcia Akers, Senate Bill 3 isn't just a debate about what kids should learn in school, it's personal.

"Makes no sense that they would do that not only to my father, but many other historical figures," said Garcia Akers.

Her father is the civil rights leader Dr. Hector P Garcia, a legendary physician and World War II veteran who fought for the rights of Hispanics and veterans. Garcia went on to form the American G.I. Forum.

Among the lessons S.B. 3 would remove from being required to be taught in public schools includes Garcia's life and works.

"Cesar Chavez, Martin Luther King so many of them, they deserve the recognition.  They deserve to have their lives studied by the public and school children to understand their relevance," said Garcia Akers.

Supporters of the bill believe teachers should teach the basics.

Republican Sen. Bryan Hughes said S.B. 3 prohibits teachers from being compelled to talk about current events or controversial issues, among other things.

"We want our classrooms to be forward thinking and not a breeding ground for divisive political agenda," Mineola Republican Sen. Bryan Hughes has stated.

Eric Holguin with LULAC PARA TODOS in Corpus Christi has organized a rally to show the organization's disapproval of the bill.

"Texas history isn't just Stephen F Austin, Sam Houston, and the Alamo, it's Dr. Hector P Garcia, it's Dolores Huerta, M.L.K.'s American history," said Holguin.

The rally will take place this Saturday at noon at the Dr. Hector P Garcia Plaza at TAMUCC.

Other organizations set to attend include Indigenous Peoples of the Coastal Bend, NAACP H. Boyd Hall Chapter, Corpus Christi American Federation of Teachers, Cecilia Garcia Akers, and other local activists and elected officials.

"It's important that we continue to have these conversations and tell the stories of civil rights icons across America and especially here in Texas and public schools because you don't want to white wash our history classes.  That is essentially what this bill is allowing publics schools to do," said Holguin.

For the latest updates on coronavirus in the Coastal Bend, click here.

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