DATES: March 12 – 18th
Check out the Libro Traficante website (click here) to get all the information you need: dates, where they will be stopping, more authors joining the caravan, etc., and their listing of what books Arizona has specifically banned.
And stay tuned for La Bloga writer, Michael Sedano’s posts. He will be joining the caravan and reporting from the road starting on March 12th. Orale Em Sedano!
“Once a government is committed to the principle of silencing the voice of opposition, it has only one way to go, and that is down the path of increasingly repressive measures, until it becomes a source of terror to all its citizens and creates a country where everyone lives in fear.”
This is how the legislature in Arizona sees Mexican American Studies and our books—as a “voice of opposition” and Arizona's “repressive measures” certainly have brought fear to many in Arizona and people in other states worry that their programs and books could be next. Fear. In the Mexican American Studies curriculum listing of books, the "opposition" this literature and these texts confront is ignorance, prejudice, and exclusion. Mexican American Studies and the diverse literature it offers, enriches and complicates the American literary and historical landscape. It dares to question, it seeks to enlarge the scope of perspectives, it is without fear in its commitment for the inclusion of everyone’s history.
Acoma Pueblo Indian, Simon Ortiz, Arizona State University Regents Professor of English and American Indian Studies said: “I am very stunned and shocked and very pissed off that the Tucson Unified School District would ban Mexican American Studies and books like Rethinking Columbus: The Next Five hundred Years that includes works by Indigenous (Native) authors Leslie Marmon Silko, N. Scott Momaday, Winona LaDuke, Buffy St. Marie, Joy Harjo . . . The banning explicitly and pointedly shows it is not only Mexican American Studies and people and so-called illegal immigrants that are targeted but Indigenous studies and people as a whole.” (click here to read entire article)
Other books that are not Chicana, Chicano, or Mexican American are also on the list. And you may be surprised to see Shakespeare on the list. Yes—Arizona has banned Shakespeare’s The Tempest whose central themes focus on politics and religion, slavery, death and regeneration, friendship and forgiveness.
Manuel Muñoz, a professor at The University of Arizona’s creative writing program is a short story writer and novelist. He has won countless awards for his fiction. His collection of short stories, ZigZagger: Stories is on the banned list.
Writer and playwright, José Antonio Burciaga’s Drink Cultura: Chicanismo was also banned. Do you think that maybe they were worried about “cultura” in the title? Is it fear again because we refuse to assimilate to some kind of definition they believe is the only definition for what it means to be “American"? Do you think so? This is an important book of essays focusing on Mexican American and Chicano perspectives and complexities in order to discuss the theme of identity.
Another University of Arizona professor, Charlest M. Tatum, has published two anthologies of Chicana and Chicano writing. New Chicana/Chicano Writing and books like this one are important for emerging writers. Publisher’s weekly wrote: “Impressive collection of poetry and short stories.”
Elizabeth “Betita” Martinez has been such an important writer, activist, educator. Both her books are on the banned list. The first is 500 Years of Chicano History in Pictures. Of course they would ban this book! It has photographic evidence of the struggles Chicanas and Chicanos have had to endure to make progress. As well, her other book, De Colores Means All of Us: Latina Views for a Multi-Colored Century supports her history in pictures with essays that focus on various Chicanas who participated and witnessed movements for civil rights, women’s empowerment, etc. These two books are very important in the understanding of Chicana history and strength.
This prestigious banned list also includes Ana Castillo’s novel of memory and loss: So Far From God. Castillo's novel is set in the imagined town of Tome, New Mexico. Sofia and her daughters (Fe, Esperanza, Caridad, and La Loca) face a number of personal, social, cultural and environmental challenges and struggles. The first three sisters’ names translate to “faith, hope and charity.”
There are many more books listed (CLICK HERE)-- (on this website, find the link "Banned Book List" and you'll be able to download the listing). I ask you to join in solidarity to get the word out, to tell everyone what Libro Traficante is doing—publically speaking out against the banning of Mexican American Studies, Ethnic Studies, against censorship of our libros-- nuestra cultura. A society cannot grow and flourish without art, without literature and culture. Stop the fear. Stop the ignorance. You can be a part of Libro Traficante! Just click on the Libro Traficante website.
Wishing you, Dear Bloga reader—a Libro Traficante literary month of March! Orale!