Free the Books: Librotraficante Caravan Heads to Arizona to Create "Underground Libraries"

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Goin' to Arizona
The folks at Nuestra Palabra: Latino Writers Having Their Say are taking action against Arizona's attempt to eliminate Mexican-American studies in its schools.

If Arizona is taking Hispanic-culture books out of its schools, they will bring Hispanic-culture books to Arizona.

The Librotraficante Caravan will leave Houston next month and have several events across the state before making its way to Arizona.

"When we heard that Tucson Unified School District administrators not only prohibited Mexican-American Studies, but then walked into classrooms, and in front of young Latino students, during class time, removed and boxed up books by our most beloved authors -- that was too much," said Tony Diaz, founder of Nuestra Palabra. "This offended us down to our soul. We had to respond."

Says the group:

Banned writers have embraced the caravan and those that will participate along the route include Sandra Cisneros, who kicked off our fundraising efforts by making a generous donation; Guggenheim Fellow Dagoberto Gilb, whose work recently appeared in the New Yorker and Harpers simultaneously; and bestselling author Luis Alberto Urrea, with multiple titles found on the banned book list was the first to enthusiastically support the project through Twitter.

Other literary giants participating in the Librotraficante Caravan include Rudolfo Anaya, whose seminal novel Bless Me Ultima is banned; [and] Denise Chavez, [author of] Face of an Angel, who is hosting the caravan in Mesilla, N.M., and who organizes the Annual Border Book Festival...Institutions that have already confirmed to host the caravan include the Guadalupe Cultural Arts Center in San Antonio, Texas, and the National Hispanic Cultural Center in Albuquerque, N.M.

Here's some video about their plans:


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6 comments
Harry_Bennett
Harry_Bennett

Wait! you don't need to go to Arizona to help High School students learn to read. We have thousands of bi-lingual illiterate students here is Houston. Don't be scared, go to Jesse Jones High Scholl and volunteer to tutor - they would LOVE your help

roadgeek
roadgeek

In all fairness, Dagoberto Gilb is excellent; his accounts of growing up in and living in the Rio Grande Valley are stunning.  I'm not certain how many Mexican-Americans actually read his books, however. 

Lady Writer
Lady Writer

Yes, absolutely, because clearly Mexican-American literature is only important if Mexican-Americans read it. And yet amazingly, in school I was taught Langston Hughes and Shakespeare as well as Gilb and Cisneros.

The purpose of ethnic studies is to expand knowledge of a culture or group -- to everyone, not just members of that group.

roadgeek
roadgeek

Mexican-Americans read?  That explains why the last bookstore in Laredo closed last year.

Juan
Juan

Borders Closed because they did not want to get educated.  And for the record, we are Americans, or do you call yourself "Stupid American"

Rzr2465
Rzr2465

Undoubtedly to be sure kInd sir. Ricardo Martin Fuentez De Ramirez Proud American

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