Tony Diaz, Founder and Organizer of Librotraficante Caravan (Spanish for book trafficker)
Las Cruces - March 13, 2012 - On this edition of PUENTES, Emily Guerra bridges the community with Houston-based Novelist, Tony Diaz, Founder of “Nuestra Palabra (Our word): Latino Writers Having Their Say,” a literary non-profit which promotes Latino literature and culture. Diaz is a graduate of the University of Houston’s Master of Fine Arts Program, and teaches English and Mexican-American literature at Houston’s Community College. He is also the Founder and Organizer of a movement called the “Librotraficante (book trafficking) Caravan” which started after the passage of Arizona House Bill 2811 - banning Ethnic Studies from being taught in K through 12 schools in the state. Diaz said that “on January 10th the Tucson Unified School District (TUSD) was forced to either cut their Ethnic Studies programs or face a ten percent cut in funds each month.” As a result, Diaz said, “the TUSD high school teachers were pressured to walk into a classroom, while class was in session in front of our youth; they boxed up the books of our most beloved authors. It wound up being 80 books that were boxed up and taken for state’s evidence and are no longer being taught in the classroom.”
Diaz says the two-bus caravan with nearly 100 “Leaders, Readers, and Writers” will take banned Latino/Chicano literature back to Arizona to underground libraries. Some of the books are by authors such as Rudolfo Anaya, Denise Chavez, Sandra Cisneros, and others.
The Librotraficante Caravan will arrive in El Paso tomorrow evening at 7 for a reading by local artists at Mercado Mayapan, located at 2101 Myrtle. On Thursday Morning, March 15th, the Caravan will be in Mesilla at 10 o’clock with Denise Chavez at the Cultural Center on Calle de Parian for a Breakfast Press Conference. The supporters then travel to Albuquerque and stop that evening at 7 at the National Hispanic Cultural Center; and arrive in Tucson on Friday, March 16th for a Mass Reading. The schedule of events can be found on the web at LIBROTRAFICANTE.com.