In 2011, the Arizona State Legislature passed HB 2281, a law which prohibits schools from offering courses at any grade level that advocate ethnic solidarity, promote overthrow of the US government, or cater to specific ethnic groups. The law effectively dismantles the state’s popular Mexican-American studies programs. Half of the children in Arizona schools are Mexican American.
To comply, the Tucson Unified School District took all books on the reading lists of ethnic studies classes out of the classroom–banning books by some of the most celerbated Latino authors (and Shakespeare!). In response, Texas-based educator and social activist Tony Díaz launched a campaign to bring the banned books to the children of Tucson–the librotraficantes (book smugglers) banned book caravan. Latinopia’s Jesús Treviño went along and filmed this historic caravan.
This is the first of several video reports of the caravan’s effort to affirm American freedom of expression and preserve Latino culture in America. This video was filmed by Jesús Treviño in collaboration with Carlos Calbillo of Houston, Texas and Michael Sedano of the Latino literary blog La Bloga. This video is copyrighted by Barrio Dog Productions Inc. And posted on vimeo and Latinopia.com by permission.
After leaving Houston, Texas, the librotraficante banned book caravan arrived in El Paso, Texas on March 14, 2012. They were met with open arms by local poets and community activists who welcomed the caravan with a dinner and poetry reading at the Mercado Mayapán Cultural Center. This video was produced, is owned and copyrighted by Barrio Dog Productions Inc. and is posted on vimeo and Latinopia.com by permission.
On March 12, 2012, a caravan of social justice activists set out from Houston, Texas to Tucson, Arizona to deliver books to high school students that had been banned by the Tucson United School District. The librotraficantes ( book smugglers) were welcomed in cities throughout their journey. After a warm reception in El Paso, Texas, the banned book caravan set out to for Mesilla, New Mexico, to the border bookstore run by acclaimed author Denise Chávez. This video was produced, is owned and copyrighted by Barrio Dog Productions, Inc.
After leaving the Border Bookstore in Mesilla, New Mexico, the caravan carrying banned books to the children of Tucson heads north to Albuquerque for a meeting with renowned author Rudolfo Anaya. On the bus another celebrated and banned author Dagoberto Gilb, compares racism to the disease “macular degeneration.” This video was produced, is owned and copyrighted by Barrio Dog productions, Inc. and is posted on vimeo and Latinopia.com by permission.
On its way to Tucson, Arizona, the Librotraficantes Caravan of Censored Books stopped in Albuquerque, New Mexico where the librotraficantes received a warm welcome at the National Hispanic Cultural Center. Poets and authors from throughout the state came to read from their works. Among them were Cathy Arellano, Hakim Bellamy, Mary Oishi, Margaret Randall and Andrea Serrano. This video was produced, is owned and copyrighted by Barrio Dog Productions Inc. and is posted on vimeo and Latinopia.com by permission.
The Librotraficantes Banned Book Caravan left Houston, Texas on March 12, 2012. After stops in San Antonio and El Paso, Texas, and Albuquerque , New Mexico, the caravan was ready to set out on the final leg of its journey to deliver censored books to the high school students of Tucson, Arizona.
It left Albuquerque on March 16, 2012. This video was produced, is owned and copyrighted by Barrio Dog Productions Inc. and is posted on Vimeo and Latinopia.com by permission.