This past Saturday, I was privileged to take part in a panel at John Jay College addressing the ban on Mexican-American Studies in Tucson, Arizona. Over 80 books, the vast majority of which are books by Latina/o authors, are now effectively banned in the Tucson school district.
With me at the panel were the novelist Sergio Troncoso, whose book The Last Tortilla and Other Stories is on Tucson's banned list; as well as the members of a remarkable movement called Librotraficante, which has sprung up within the last month to combat these bans. Professor Tony Diaz of the University of Houston, and radio producers and hosts Bryan Parras and Liana Lopez, have come together to create a caravan of banned books that are slated to be trafficked BACK into Arizona from Texas, into four (at last count) underground libraries which will exist to celebrate, and provide students and the public with access to, the sacred literature which Tucson now wishes to toss into the incinerator.
Anyone with interest in combatting this genocidal action by the Tucson school district should visit Librotraficante on the web, where you can contribute to the caravan, contact the organizers, and find ways to make your voice known.
Make no mistake: facism is alive and well, and the State of Arizona harbors it. We have not forgotten SB 1070. And we will not forget this. Unless we step up now to combat facism, it will bubble the surface elsewhere, like a bad memory. (It already has.) Do not stand still now.
In the meantime, have a look at two clips from Saturday's panel discussion, from myself and from Sergio. I will post more clips as they become available.
A big word of thanks to the intrepid Erasmo Guerra, who was on hand to document the event and who posted these clips to YouTube.