24 years ago I became an activist not long after a racial violence incident at Davis High School involving the May 4th stabbing death of Thong Huynh, a 17-year old Davis High School student, by another student James Pierman and a group of his colleagues who had racially taunted Huynh for weeks.
I worked with Civil Rights activists Angela Oh, Pattie Fong, Bob Matsueda, Grace Kim, the late Prof. George Kagiwada and others to build a group called Davis Asians for Racial Equality or DARE at the time. The City of Davis now commemorates Huyhn's life with a memorial award. In Northern California, the Huynh case was our local racial violence 'wake up call' on the same level as the Vincent Chin killing was in Detroit and the midwest from 1982-87. Chin was killed June 19, 1982 by Ronald Ebens and Michael Nitz, both unemployed autoworkers who beat him to death with a baseball bat in front of a McDonalds. Neither spent a day in jail and both were given $3000 fines and 3 years probation after they pled guilty to manslaughter in the killing. At the time I worked with other KPFA reporters to interview Huynh's family and activists from Northern California. I always teach about the Vincent Chin and Huynh cases because of their importance to Asian American history and social movements history as well.
Davis city reached SF news headlines again a few years ago after 911 when more hate crimes and racist incidents started growing.
In February, Davis High School students spray-painted the n-word word in large red letters on a sidewalk near the home of an African American couple, two professionals who had moved to Davis three months before to raise their children.
That's why I wasn't that surprised when I read Davis Vanguard's blog today about a reported incident several weeks ago involving a American-born Muslim Davis High School student suspended for 3 days for incidents surrounding his turning in a school assignment on Malcolm X. For the full story see davisvanguard.blogspot.comDisturbing Incident involving Davis High School - A few weeks ago, a Davis High School student, a 4.0 honors student heavily involved in student government and community causes, turned in a poster for one of his classes on Malcom X. On the poster appeared the phrase, "by any means necessary" along with other phrases from one of Malcom X's most famous speeches. ...The next day, the student came back and found that the poster had been taken down and in front of the class was told that this was a "terrorist" message. A few weeks later, this same student was asked to give a speech in front of the school during Human Relations Week about a civil rights incident that he had experienced. He was given a choice and decided to do it on this specific incident. He then gave them an advanced copy of the speech which they approved. He was told that he could not specifically mention the teacher and he agreed to this.
He then delivered the speech, he did not mention the teacher's name. Apparently the teacher however walked out during the speech, he and his parents were called in by the Vice-Principal.
There were several different meetings between the father and the school, but suddenly unbeknownst to the family, the student was informed that he was suspended for three days. ...
Meanwhile now the student's academic career is in jeopardy because of this suspension. The UC's apparently have a provision that any student suspended for three days or more is ineligible for enrollment....
To me on the surface this seems to have been handled very poorly. The Malcom X quote was clearly not intended to be a "terrorist" message. The teacher clearly overreacted there. I mention this since the terrorist issue arose, that this student is an American-born Muslim. Apparently the ACLU has been contacted, CAIR is involved, and many of the student's peers are outraged.
The three day suspension is a very harsh penalty given the facts involved. Now did he break his word? I do not know. But that seems an extreme punishment for a student involved in an academic exercise who is not dealing drugs or starting fights.---Doug Paul Davis reporting
The Blog is an alternative to the daily Davis Enterprise. More - http://media.www.californiaaggie.com/media/storage/paper981/news/2007/01/24/CityNews/Davis.Resident.Utilizes.Blog.To.Broadcast.An.Alternative.Voice-2671239.shtml