A Houston caravan traveling with Latino Studies books banned in Arizona will stop in San Antonio. Banned writers that will participate along the route include San Antonio’s Sandra Cisneros. The Guadalupe Cultural Arts Center will host the caravan as the head to Arizona in March. Organizers have posted the above video explaining their goals and asking for support.
LibroTraficante.com – The Librotraficante Caravan will travel from Houston, Texas, to Tucson, Ariz., carrying a payload of contraband books, creating networks of Underground Libraries and leaving community resources in its wake. One of many responses to Arizona’s unconstitutional laws prohibiting Mexican-American Studies, the Librotraficante Caravan has captured the imagination and hearts of activists, writers, educators, and students from all walks of life who want to preserve freedom of speech.
The Librotraficante Caravan launches in Houston at 10 a.m. on Monday, March 12, from Casa Ramirez Folk Art Gallery (241 West 19th Street, Houston, Texas 77008.) It will stop in San Antonio and El Paso, Texas; Mesilla and Albuquerque, N.M., and culminate in Tucson, Ariz., on Friday, March 16. On St. Patrick’s Day, Saturday, March 17, we’ll host a huge literary celebration of El Batallion San Patricio at 6 p.m., celebrating Irish and Mexican collaboration of the past.
The entire schedule is available online at www.Librotraficante.com
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; The Genius Mac Arthur Grant recipient Sandra Cisnero’s beloved novel HOUSE ON MANGO STREET is prohibited in Tucson High School classrooms;
Southwest Organizing Project, contributing extensive experience organizing national caravans and publisher of banned book 500 YEARS OF CHICANO HISTORY IN PICTURES; to Unidos, the student group in Tucson that is organizing teach-ins, while still attending classes and pursuing their education.
Guggenheim Fellow Dagoberto Gilb, whose work recently appeared in the New Yorker and Harpers simultaneously; and best selling 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; Denise Chavez, FACE OF AN ANGEL, who is hosting the caravan in Mesilla, N.M., and who organizes the Annual Border Book Festival; Lalo Alcaraz, creator of the syndicated comic LA CUCARACHA and who coined the phrase “Self Deport”; and Rene Alegria, founder of Boxing Badger Media and www.mamiverse.com,who attended one of the impacted high schools in Tucson.
Institutions that have already confirmed to host the caravan include the Guadalupe Cultural Arts Center in San Antonio, Texas, and the National Hispanic Cultural Centerin Albuquerque, N.M.
“Every great movement is sparked by outrage at a deep cultural offense,” said Tony Diaz, founder of Nuestra Palabra: Latino Writers Having Their Say, which has led the charge, “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. This offended us down to our soul. We had to respond.”
The caravan is intended to:
1. Raise awareness of the prohibition of the Mexican-American Studies
Program and the removal of books from classrooms.
2. Promote banned authors and their contributions to American Literature.
3. Celebrate diversity. Children of the American Dream must unite to
preserve the civil rights of all Americans.
4. Create a network of resources for art, literature and activism.
1. Underground Libraries: Librotraficantes will donate copies of the banned
books a local nonprofit in Houston, San Antonio, Albuquerque and Tucson.
These sites will not only be given copies of the banned titles, but from
now on, all multicultural authors are encouraged to mail copies of their
books to these sites when they are published, so that our community will
always have access to our literature.
2. Teach-ins and a Supplanted Book List: Workshops that include free
curriculum guides with literary excerpts and lesson plans that can be used
in class and immediately applied to other works.
3. Network of Librotraficantes across the country: This is a case of new
media saving the classic media of books. Had Arizona done this ten years
ago, we most likely would not have heard about it until it had impacted a
second generation of youth. However, because of new technologies and the
network of writers and activists who are communicating on multimedia
platforms, we were not only able to hear about Arizona’s actions, but to
also utilize new media tools to organize some classic activist strategies
to respond – from now on!
Lupe Mendez http://www.thepoetmendez.org/
& Laura Acosta http://www.linkedin.com/pub/laura-acosta/4/389/56
Contact: Tony Diaz
AztecMuse [at] aol [dot] com