First Posted: Aug 28, 2013 11:39 AM EDT

Eva Longoria (Photo : Reuters )

Actress and Latino rights advocate Eva Longoria addressed the ban of a controversial Mexican American Studies curriculum in public schools in Tucson, Ariz., the Huffington Post reported. During a panel on the Latino vote at the National Association of Hispanic Journalists in Anaheim, Calif., Longoria called the censorship "criminal."

Like Us on Facebook

"I think it's even more tragic than SB 1070," the former "Desperate Housewives" actress told the Huffington Post. "This is where our communities can learn about our history and to prevent anyone from doing that is criminal."

Longoria, who has a Master's degree in Chicano Studies from California State University, Northridge, joins other Latino intellectuals who have criticized the decision by the Arizona state legislature to prohibit the Mexican-American Studies curriculum.

According to the Post, the passage of SB 1070, a 2010 law conceived by then-Superintendent of Schools Tom Horne and piloted through the legislature by then-State Sen. John Huppenthal, R-Chandler, has become the focal point of Anglo-Hispanic political tension.

SB 1070 targets the Tucson Mexican-American Studies curriculum specifically. Back in December 2011, Tucson's school board decided to suspend the classes; seven books, almost all of them by Latino authors, were plucked from the city's classrooms and prohibited from being taught in schools, according to the Huffington Post.

Longoria, who despite being born in the U.S. has said she feels like a "Mexican at heart," has always been deeply involved in defending Latino rights in the United States. Citing her parents' Mexican heritage, the actress has often said she has a strong bond with her Hispanic roots.

"Acting is my profession, but helping the Latino community is my passion and mission of life. That's why I created the Eva Longoria Foundation, to support the Latino community, which, as we know, is powerful, influential and has a limitless potential," explained Longoria in perfect Spanish during her acceptance speech at the Premios Tu Mundo (Your World Awards).

The 38-year-old actress was honored with the NCLR's "ALMA de Tu Mundo" award, presented by Telemundo and the National Council of La Raza to recognize Longoria's use of her fame and talent to help the Latino community and to create awareness of various philanthropic causes.

Last month, Longoria discussed the importance of equal access to higher education for young Latinos in the U.S., including undocumented immigrants, during a panel at the 2013 National Council La Raza (NCLR) in New Orleans, according to La Prensa.

"The barriers have not changed in the last 30 or 40 years, and so we have to stop identifying them; we know what the barriers are, whether they be socio-economic status, immigration, language barriers, financial," the actress said at a forum titled "Beyond Immigration Reform: Education As A Catalyst For Integration."

© 2014 Latinos Post. All rights reserved. Do not reproduce without permission.