As parents, educators, and community members of the Ethnic Studies Now! Coalition Santa Barbara, we have worked closely with youth who attended Santa Bárbara High School and witnessed the deep respect and appreciation they had for their then-teacher Matef Harmachis. We are grateful that you published the opinion piece from June 20 with the actual facts of the Harmachis case. All reporters at the Independent must use due diligence when investigating and reporting the facts. These are dangerous times, especially for people of color, since white supremacists have become emboldened along with wealthy racists who are doing all they can to crush the progress our country has made towards justice for all people regardless of race, gender, religion, or ability.

Also, as members of the grassroots organization we have worked hard for many years to promote understanding and racial justice in our community, we observed Matef Harmachis as he consistently showed kindness, humility, and respect to people of all ages and genders. Since legal attacks are a strategy to undermine the work of social justice, we encourage the Independent to do more detailed investigations before publishing harmful articles promoting unsubstantiated and false information. Thank you for publishing the rebuttals, and please do better in the future.


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