Saturday, March 17, 2012

On the Road with Book Smugglers: Tucson, veni vidi libri.

Michael Sedano
These books are banned in idea-free Arizona. There are others, lots of others banned.
Note: click an image for a larger view.

Richard Moore from Los Jardines Institute in Alburquerque receives books to seed his underground library of banned books. Moore's operation grows organic produce for distribution among the collective's members and neighbors.

Banned books laid out as Librotraficantes collect titles for  Los Jardines' clandestine library.

We arrived, we saw, we liberated books. If only freeing the hearts and souls of Arizona officials could be as easy as saying three words. Winning elections is as easy as voting with the majority.
You are on the bus or contributing money to candidates & Librotraficantes Phase 2

Veni vidi libri. The three words of Old Latino exactly describe what’s happened in recent days. A busload of writers, readers, and journalists came together united in the common goal of refusing to acquiesce in the evil acts of Tucson school officials. Veni.

A busload of literacy activists saw the need and met the need. Tony Diaz admits to this week's actions being highly preliminary. The activists will return to Nuestra Palabra in Houston and study the lessons learned to find additional opportunties to bring banned books back to the children of Tucson’s schools. That the action entailed humor and love stands for the world to see the protest as an act of love. Vidi.

Los Libro Traficantes, acting as a living, flesh-and-blood prosthesis for the United States cultural mind, liberated the banned books by leaving a trail of banned book libraries in their wake as they caravaned from Houston to San Antonio to El Paso to Mesilla to Alburquerque to Tucson.
Diana Lopez, author of Confetti Girl attended the fabulous Tucson press conference.

The week has provided a ton of fun and seriously moving moments, amid the performance art of a montón of gente climbing on a bus and heading out into the Unitedstatesian Southwest to poke a sharp stick in the eye of fools.

But the banning of books is a deeply troubling, aggressively anti-American action. That helps explain the hundreds of angry people who filled each stop along the way, angry that anyone would ban a book, much less ban these books. Until the courts speak the racist haters have the power, but not the right, to ban entire cultures from the curriculum.

Here is a patriot: One woman approached a Librotraficante with a handful of dollar bills. “This is all I can afford,” she explained, “I’ve been unemployed over a year now.”
Tucson. Librotraficantes including Dagoberto Gilb and portavoz extraordinaire Tony Diaz.

Here is what Love looks like, the foto above. And the woman giving grocery money clarifies her values. She knows she will eat tomorrow. Deny a kid a book and that book is denied forever. 

People have a right to be jerks. Even racist jerks. I am a Veteran of the United States Army and was willing to go overseas and let one of the locals shoot me, so my fellow Americans could continue to be racist jerks.

Don’t get me wrong on this—I wasn’t alone. 50,000 of my comrades died to make that point. QEPD, brothers and sisters. You died so Huppenthal and Hicks and their ilk could deny your families the right to study United States history and culture.

This is the United States of America. People have the right in our country to be racists.

But in our country, these people do not have a right to hold public office. Like everyone else, racists have to stand for election and be voted in, or out. And when they lose, if there’s justice in our nation, the racists lose to some of the folks whom Jesus Treviño and I spent a few minutes with Friday evening, a fundraiser for local candidates who invited the Librotraficantes. Those are candidates I wish we had in Califas.
Sal Baldenegro, Sr. Jesus Treviño. Sal Baldenegro, Jr. Love and fatherly pride. Note Treviño's "Recall (school board member) Hicks" button.

Winning elections is not easy. Yet that's the only answer to Arizona's problem racists sitting in power. Money money money, that’s Latin for what that woman in Alburqueque chose to do instead of eating.

If you don’t have to choose between eating and contributing—though you have the right—contribute. You can contact two of the candidates via Facebook: Benally. Baldenegro.

Los Librotraficantes joined the caravan from Texas, Ohio, Italy, California


jmu said...

Impressive photo. It looks like a good pachanga on wheels but for a good cause and not just a good time.

But I will not relinquish my books! You will have to pry them from my cold, dead hands!

Kathleen Alcala said...

Love it. Thanks for the update.