SF State activist details fight for ethnic studies in new book

Fifty years ago, the Third World Liberation Front — a coalition of various ethnic student groups at San Francisco State College, now San Francisco State University — led a strike that created and established ethnic studies in schools and universities across the US.

One of the original activists, Juanita Tamayo Lott, details her experience of the strike in her new book, Golden Children: Legacy Of Ethnic Studies, SF State. A Memoir.”

In 1968, Lott was a 20-year-old transfer student from City College of San Francisco — where she worked with the Black Panthers.

She says that the old history they were learning were White-Anglo Saxon protestant teachings from the 16th century on — and that there was so much more than that.

For her efforts, Philippine Consul General Henry Bensurto gave high regards for Lott.

Because of Lott’s efforts, many Filipinos born in the US have the opportunity to learn of their cultural history and contributions to American society through ethnic studies.

“We went on strike because we honored our parents. Our parents sacrificed for us and we knew that to keep up the tradition of revolution, social movements. Social justice that we had to give it to our younger brothers and sisters and to our grandchildren.”

Lott is also credited for developing the Filipino American studies program at the University of Maryland, College Park.

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