Lesley Ruiz decided to pass the time at Dolores Park on a recent Thursday. Ruiz, who works as a teaching assistant at Presidio Middle School, was figuring out how to deal with her freshman semester at San Francisco State while navigating the city’s high cost of living.

Most of all, she was worried about the decline of Ethnic Studies in the Kindergarten to 12th grades across the state, a subject that was important to her as a student. 

“I just feel like it’s very important because it tells kids the stories about their history and that’s not taught in any other subject,” Ruiz said.

Ruiz said learning about her history boosted her sense of identity. She plans on being an ethnic studies teacher after finishing college. 

“I don’t have all the resources to do good in college,”she said. “I don’t have a laptop so I have to go to the library a lot. It’s an interesting experience.”