Sunday, February 19, 2012

Art Meza Reads "Echo Park" a poem by Luis J. Rodriguez

Yvonne Condes Reads from The House on Mango Street

Yvonne Condes of reads from the House on Mango Street to protest Arizona shutting down the Tucson Unified School District's Mexican-American Studies program.

Bella Vida Letty on Like Water for Chocolate

Teacher Yolanda Sotelo on the books she can no longer teach

Dr. Joe Sutliff Sanders on the TUSD Book Banning

Friday, February 10, 2012

Debbie Reese reads from Delgado and Stefancic's CRITICAL RACE THEORY, a book taught in the now-banned Mexican American Studies program in Tucson Unified School District.

#BanningHistory | Author S. J. Rivera reads Rodolfo "Corky" Gonzales' "Message To Aztlán"

In cooperation with Banning History, S. J. Rivera, author of "Demon in the Mirror" and "Amerikkkan Stories", reads from "Message To Aztlán" by legendary Chicano activist Rodolfo "Corky" Gonzales. Rivera chose to do this to help fight back against the censorship and book banning occurring in Arizona. Book banning is unconscionable in this day and age and everyone who values their freedom should be alarmed at what the state of Arizona is doing. Banning History's goal is to get as many video submissions as possible of people reading passages from the books that Arizona has banned - mostly Chicano history. Banning History is fighting back against the attempted cultural genocide in Arizona. No history is illegal!

Thursday, February 9, 2012

Read-in at La Casa in Solidarity with Mexican American Studies at TUSD-Crystal

Crystal reads from 500 Years of Chicano History in Pictures edited by Elizabeth Martinez to support Mexican American Studies at the Tuscon Unified School District.

On February 1, at La Casa Cultural Latina, a cultural center on the campus of the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, the students held a Read-in, reading from books used in the Mexican American Studies program at TUSD. You can check out all the videos from that read-in can be found on the Youtube channel:

Thank you so much to the students and organizers for doing this!

Sasha Grey Reads from Zoot Suit

Sasha Grey reads Luis Valdez's "Zoot Suit & Other Plays" in response to the Tuscon school board's decision to ban books!

Stand up, use your voice & support this website:

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Read-in at La Casa in Solidarity with Mexican American Studies at TUSD-Rebecca

Rebecca reads from Chicano!: The History of the Mexican American Civil Rights Movement by Francisco Rosales to support Mexican American Studies at the Tuscon Unified School District

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La Casa Cultural Latina Read-In

On February 1, at La Casa Cultural Latina, a cultural center on the campus of the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, the students held a Read-in, reading from books used in the Mexican American Studies program at TUSD. Videos from that read-in can be found on the Youtube channel: and I will be posting them here one by one, each having its own post.

Thank you so much to the students and organizers for doing this! 

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Poets Responding To SB1070

Have you seen this?  Go to Facebook right now and look at all the amazing poets responding.

Their description reads:  Poets gather here to respond to Arizona SB 1070, a law that targets immigrants and legalizes racial profiling. We feature poetry and immigrant human rights news.

So go.  Post.  Like.  Share.  Flor y canto is good for your soul.

Sunday, February 5, 2012

I Want to Be Educated

Today, we have a beautiful poem from Ezzy Guerrero-Languzzi who blogs about education, culture and awareness.   My favorite line in it is where she says, "I give you permission to confiscate them."  Powerful.

I Want to Be Educated

by Ezzy Guerrero-Languzzi

I want to be educated ...

Chapters in books
Pages, words
Sounds, thoughts, emotions


Who's free, really, in this country?
I never had the right, apparently
What you cannot, will not, refuse to see
I promise will never cease to be

These chapters in books and pages, words
Voices from the past, a warning to the future
A salve for wounds undiscovered

These chapters in books and pages, words
Tell me that in humanity I am not alone
I have brothers and sisters on the same journey
Finding our place in this world and our communities

Go ahead
You may take them
I give you permission to confiscate them
Ban them
Burn them
Hide them in boxes
Do what you must
But know -- try as you may, you cannot hide or change history

You will not conquer me.

Friday, February 3, 2012

Singing Junot Diaz

The lovely Sujeiry Gonzalez sings from Pulitzer prize winning, Junot Diaz' collection of short stories, DROWN; one of the many banned books in Arizona. Sujeiry is the author of the new book Love Trips, which is available for purchase. She is also the Latina Carrie Bradshaw as the NY Modern Love Examiner.

Thursday, February 2, 2012

Arizona Pretends Mexicans Don't Exist

From the Majority Report, live M-F 11:30am EST and via daily podcast at http://Majority.FM:

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Saundra Mitchell reads from Mexican Whiteboy

Saundra Mitchell, YA Author reading the first two pages of Matt de la Peña's MEXICAN WHITEBOY. A readng from Mexican Whiteboy by Matt de la Peña-- a book currently banned in Tuscon schools because of discriminatory legistlation. Find out more at . And to find out more about Matt's books, visit his website at .

Alina E. Klein on The House on Mango Street

Alina Klein from Tip-Tap-Typing on the Lunatic Fringe has posted a beautifully done video reading from The House on Mango Street. Thanks Alina!

Monday, January 30, 2012

The House That Was Banned from Tucson

I just found this amazing little video of Sandra Cisneros talking about The House on Mango Street and how important it is to be a community activist.  Her book is on the Tucson list you know.  I think she'd want you to fight for it.

The Nation

Those nice folks at The Nation are trying to help us get submissions.  They don't like censorship either.

We love them so go read them every day and follow them on Twitter

You know, you don't have to submit a video if you're camera shy or don't know how. Submit a photo, a story, a quote.  We'll take it. Speak out against censorship and banning books!

Saturday, January 21, 2012

From Sandra Gonzalez Whaley

"Tucson school leaders would need a warrant to pry these books out of my hand from my personal library."

Friday, January 20, 2012

A Statement from Ana Castillo

The legendary and gracious Ana Castillo has generously allowed Banning History to use her statement from her blog on the banning of the books in Tucson. Ms. Castillo's book, SO FAR FROM GOD is on the list of banned books.

"Hey kids: We interrupt our scheduled programming on the upcoming writing workshops I am offering this Easter Week in New Mexico to give an update on the political, moral and psychological decline of our neighboring state.

Here is a full list of books that were effectively banned when Tucson shut down the ethnic studies program. Last week, books were physically removed from libraries and classrooms, and reportedly taken out of students’ hands. Once you take a look at the growing, extensive list (link below) the question to ask is which Latin@ writer whose books have been regularly adopted in courses ISN’T on the list?

It’s a mini-McCarthyish blacklist equating any Latin@ immigrant related expression to the fear generated amongst the populace during the Cold War. The presumed threat then was the world takeover of Communism.

This is not the only move to discredit Latin@ literature along the border, in particular Texas. The question during an election year to ask, especially for Arizonan voters is: Yay or nay on our First Amendment and Freedom of Speech rights being systematically removed?"

You can find all of Ms. Castillo's books here and we encourage you to buy them ALL if you can, but especially SO FAR FROM GOD.  Please take the time to visit her website and read it as well as comment on her blog posts.  She has a lovely new design and a ton of information about her writing workshops, appearances, interviews, etc.

I'd also be humbled if you headed over to AmoXcalli to read some of my reviews of her wonderful books and an interview I did with her a few years ago.

 We thank Ms. Castillo for allowing us to use her statement.

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Banning History in Arizona

With all the stop SOPA and PIPA stuff in the news, a bit of news from Tuscon has gone largely unnoticed.

In schools, works by Chicano authors and oh yeah, that dude Shakespeare have been banned.  Ok, so not banned but teachers can't talk about them, read them in class, have them in their classes, cite them or otherwise use them as part of their lessons.  Seriously.

Since when did THE HOUSE ON MANGO STREET become dangerous?  Really?  How about LIKE WATER FOR CHOCOLATE? Both of those books are on the list which you can find here.

Luis Alberto Urrea has FIVE books on the list, some of the finest non-fiction reporting and essays I've seen written.  I believe that vato even was a Pulitzer prize finalist for his writing back in 2005 for one of the very books on the list - The Devil's Highway which won the 2004 Lannan Literary Award.  Of course it is about a bunch of immigrants lost in the desert of Arizona, so no surprise they don't want it cited.  God forbid ARIZONA gets mentioned in a book!  Hijole, quick yank that sucker off the shelf!

Luis Rodriguez Jr.'s personal and heart-felt memoir about gang life in L.A. ALWAYS RUNNING is on the list as well.  I'm not sure why.  It's a book about hope.

In fact, they've put ALL the Mexican-American history texts on this list. And, it's not just history: works by Rudolfo Acuna, Ana Castillo, Oscar Hijuelos, Cesar Chavez, the great playwright Luis Valdez, Sandra Cisneros and many others are listed.  Not content with just us Chicanos, the brilliant minds in Tucson have also removed Henry David Thoreau, Jane Yolen and Shakespeare's The Tempest.


We thought about going to Arizona and staging a massive protest, but we didn't want to give Arizona our hard earned dollars.  No...

So we're staging an online protest - a READ-IN if you will.  We're asking everyone, all over the world to submit a video of yourself reading a passage from one of the banned books.  We will post EVERY single video submission we get.  If you are an author of one of the works, we welcome your words, your quotes, your videos, your thoughts.  We will link back to your blogs, promote your videos on Twitter using the hashtag #dearArizona and push as hard as we collectively can to bring those books back to the classrooms in Tuscon.