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.