For two and a half years, the academic and social activist Abdullah traveled Melina week from his home in Los Angeles to Sacramento -. Travel uncompensated had a personal cost and margin kept her three children

She was working to build support for California law requires that all college students around the 23- campus, 482,000-student California State University to take an ethnic studies class three units focusing on native Americans, African Americans, Asian Americans or American latinx in order to graduate. The fate of the legislation, known as AB 1460, seemed uncertain, even when lawmakers passed and moved to the governor's desk.

But Gov. Gavin Newsom signed into law August 17.

"I was not sure it would happen," said Abdullah, who is a professor and former president of the pan-African studies at Cal State, Los Angeles. "We were working until the last moment."

It was a turning point for Abdullah, who sacrificed their time because they believe in the cause. The same applies to activists, academics and students who support the law firm Newsom marked the culmination of a decades-long struggle to ensure that the leaders of the Cal State system take ethnic studies seriously as an academic discipline and stone angular knowledge of all students must take before graduating and going to the world.

Cal State actions have a profound impact on thousands of students, as it has itself as "the largest producer bachelor" in the most populous state in the country.

The struggle for acceptance and respect for ethnic studies in the academic world dates back to the late 1960s, Abdullah said. That struggle has not declined over the past 60 years. For those who fight for the protection and promotion of ethnic studies, both in higher education and K-12, the story is one of the steps forward, backward and sideways.

The mandatory ethnic studies will benefit all students academically and socially, according to those who supported the new law in California. Abdullah is also a recognition that ethnic studies is vital for students of color. ethnic studies helps them understand their history and realize their own potential

Abdullah said he would not be where it is today without their own exposure to black studies in high school.

". black studies literally saved my life, "he said.

Life Changing Impact

Abdullah was born in Oakland, Calif., In the 1970s In the 90s, the crack cocaine epidemic reached its tough neighborhood and He brought a wave of violence.

"I saw a lot of my friends being killed, and a lot of my friends was reached in the criminal justice system," he said.

'It felt like there were certain expectations and a plan that had the world to me, "he said. "I have a wonderful mother and wonderful grandparents who raised me, but I was at the very edge. I was in and out of very minor problems, but the kind of problems that is part of the pipeline from school to prison. "

Abdullah credits a high school teacher, Mr. armed, who taught black studies, planting the seed of the idea that I could go to college. In an article published in ethnic studies review in 2017, he wrote that Mr. Abdullah Armed created a haven for a "whole generation of high school students" and allowed to flourish.

"It was exposed to my story and my power as a Black woman who finally took me to step into my own power," he said. "It could have been a different person."

Despite encouragement from the teacher, Abdullah briefly left school at the end of 10th grade, intending to pursue a career in cosmetology. After studying to pursue a GED, he returned to high school because I wanted to go to school dance

With the support of her mother, a graduate of Spelman College -. A historically Black college in Atlan

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