February 19, 2012


These are exciting times. For every act of repression there is fightback. Not just fightback but creative action that organizes more people and strengthens those in the midst of struggle. I have written before about the struggle to save the Mexican American Studies Program (MAS) in the Tucson Unified School District (TUSD). In addition we all know about the anti-immigrant policies in Arizona and other states.

The Librotraficante Caravan has been organized to bring the contraband books from Houston to Tucson. Of course there are those who believe the only avenue left is the slow legal strategy. But these activists, writers, educators and students have a different response to taking on Arizona's unconstitutional laws and fighting for freedom of speech. The result will be a network of underground libraries and community resources.

"Every great movement is sparked by outrage at a deep cultural offense" explained Tony Diaz of Nuestra Palabra: Latino Writers Having their Say. "When we heard that TUSD administrators not only prohibited MAS, but then walked into classrooms, in front of Latino students, during class time, removed and boxed up books by our most beloved authors - that was too much. This offended our very soul. We had to respond..If we allowed this to happen these laws would spread. Other states will follow suit."

The Caravan will travel with stops in Texas, New Mexico and end in Tucson. They set themselves goals both general and specific:
1. Raise Awareness of the prohibition of the MAS program and removal of books from the classroom
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
5. Underground Libraries. Librotraficantes will donate copies of banned books to local non profits in Houston, San Antonio, Albuquerque, and Tucson
6. Teach-Ins. Conduct workshops that include free curriculum guides and lesson plans to be used in classes
7. Network of Librotraficantes across the country

I encourage you to check out their website and donate if you can:

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