Californians for Equal Rights (CFER), a foundation organized primarily to combat legislative actions that will facilitate the implementation of critical race theory in schools, has become a bitter watchdog looming over San Diego Unified School District.
In April 2021, CFER launched a complaint against the San Diego Unified School District, calling out the forceful implementation of “unlawful racial discrimination in the teacher and staff training process.”
After submitting the unconcluded complaint, CFER went on to add a new objective under their belt: oppose California’s plans to roll out ethnic studies curriculum.CFER filed a lawsuit in San Diego’s Superior Court, claiming that California’s State Board of Education has violated Article I of California’s constitutions. The first article in California’s constitution calls for a more comprehensive separation of church and state, where an individual can practice their religion “without discrimination or preference,” and that the state, through its congress, will “make no law respecting an establishment of religion.”
For some reason, CFER thinks that the State Board of Education is violating Article 1 by allowing schools to empower students by “illuminating the often-untold struggles and contributions of Native Americans, African Americans, Latino/a/x Americans, and Asian Americans in California.”
CFER’s argument against the ethnic studies being implemented is the “Affirmations, Chants, and Energizers,” where students can recite an Aztec prayer as part of the energizer activities.
Robert Weisenburger, one of the counsels that represent Californians for Equal Rights, claims that “the fact that the Aztec religion is not formally organized and is non-Western in its origin does not excuse the constitutional violations.” Weisenburger also wrote to Tony Thurmond, the State Superintendent, and the General Counsel of the California Department of Education, Keith Yamanaka, to pull out the supposed “Aztec prayer.”