This story was originally published by Chalkbeat Colorado. More in chalkbeat.org.
Gerardo Muñoz’s world history chapter does not call for a discussion of coups until Unit 9, but after watching a crowd of extremists storm the US Capitol on Wednesday in an attempt to halt the presidential election certification, Muñoz decided to skip ahead.
His students had just witnessed history, and he wanted them to understand their place in it.
Muñoz began his lessons Thursday by asking students to respond to Wednesday’s events. Most of the world history students in Advanced Placement wrote, represented by circular slogans on a Google Meet video call, responses in silence. Muñoz read the parts out loud.
He read “I was tired of living historical events as a teenager.” “It’s exhausting.”
“It has come to a point where so many things are happening that I don’t want to live in history at the moment,” he said, acknowledging the students ’sentiments before continuing to summarize their responses.
Again, questions about why the police did not react the same way they did in other movements. It made it seem that it was okay for these adults to behave like children. You know? You can rant here. It’s okay. Calling the youth crazy. Links to the election. There are a lot of important things here.
Muñoz told his students, “What you just did is you literally did history.”
Muñoz General Teacher in Colorado. He teaches history at the Denver Center for International Studies, which serves students in grades six through twelve. He’s also a graduate of Denver Public School, and he remembers what it felt like when his high school teachers refused to discuss events such as the time of the death of the Colorado anti-LGBT ballot initiative in 1992.
“I don’t define myself as LGBTQIA, but seeing my classmates cry in the hallways resonated very deeply with me.” Muñoz said “No teacher said a word.” These things stick to me because as an adult, we have no obligation and responsibility to tell them, just not there A counselor in the room you can talk to, but let’s say, ‘Hey, yeah, this stuff is bad. Sucks hard. What are you thinking? How can I help you address this? “
Muñoz wanted to connect the lesson to something he had been thinking about during his winter break: How history belongs to the people.
“History doesn’t just belong to universities. It doesn’t belong to old men like me who wore jackets with elbow patches,” said Muñoz, who was already wearing a jacket. “When Apolleta tells you a story about growing up in Mexico, that is history. When your grandfather talks about apartheid in the south and what he went through there, that is history. “
Muñoz shared the definition of the coup, the removal of an incumbent government by violent means. He said that while Wednesday’s events did not succeed in this way, it could be described as a major coup, a surprise attack in force.
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He spoke about coups in other countries, including the coup in 1973 in Chile, when the US-backed military overthrew an elected president and replaced him with a dictator. He explained how young people who grew up during the dictatorship did not study the history of their country, and showed a video clip of Chilean students talking about the harm caused to them.
“In the end, the historical truth comes out,” Muñoz said. “So it is important that we think about the shape of our voices in history.”
Muñoz ended the season with the song: “A Message to the Free.” Muñoz muted himself for the first time in 50 minutes. While playing the song, utter the lyrics.
freedom. Eat freedom. wait. It won’t be long. “
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