Protesters outside the Tucson Unified School District in 2011, when the board banned Mexican-American studies. (Photo/AP Images )

Opinion: Tucson, Arizona schools deport Mexican-American writers from curriculum – again!

Warning.  This post contains mind-altering thoughts banned in Arizona.

It’s always banned book week for Mexican Americans.

However, Tucson Unified School District (TUSD) officials wanted to make this upcoming Hispanic Heritage Month extra special by erasing all traces of Mexican Americans from culturally relevant courses.

TUSD officials complied with a Department of Justice order to provide culturally relevant courses by creating a list of 25 books for African American, Mexican American, and American History Courses without including even one Mexican American author, despite the fact that the majority of the students in the system are Chicano.

The only thing whiter than the sheet of paper where TUSD explains its U.S. History-Mexican American Culturally Relevant Viewpoint is the list of authors TUSD uses to explain its U.S. History-Mexican American Culturally Relevant Viewpoint.  Ironically, if I could convince one of the anti-Mexican American folks  to read some of the authors on the list – such as the late historian Howard Zinn – they would probably find them more radical than the Mexican-American authors excluded from the list.

For students pursuing their PhD’s in Librotraficante Studies let’s call this “Loophole Legislation. “ AZ has once again thwarted the Federal Government. How will the Department of Justice respond to Arizona’s continued Civil War?

This marks the height of decadence that precedes a renaissance. Just look at the evidence.

At this second, Mexican American Studies is still prohibited in Arizona under HB2811.

In January of 2012, TUSD officials walked into classrooms during class time and in front of our youth confiscated books by our most beloved authors to comply with the prohibition. Those books remain rotting in storage.

Keep this in mind. All the books banned in Tucson are in English. The immigration laws in Arizona are so severe that the undocumented fear attending public schools. We are talking about books in English kept out of the hands of American Citizens.

Tucson youth are suing the state of Arizona to preserve Freedom of Speech and Intellectual Freedom for all Americans.  HB2811 was condoned by the Arizona Supreme Court and will be tried at the 9th District Federal Court in San Francisco next spring. I pray for all our sakes that they win.

There have been victories.

The youth have kept this movement alive, while still trying to graduate from the very system oppressing them, while working, and still trying to be just kids.

It was their reports via social media that caught our attention back in 2012 and inspired us to create the Librotraficante Caravan toSmuggle the Banned Books Back into Arizona.

By supporting and learning from our brothers and sisters in Tucson, the Librotraficantes have been able to thwart attempts in Texas to pass similar legislation.

We have created underground libraries throughout the nation and will create more.

We are also launching Mexican American Studies programs throughout Texas (more on that soon).

And you can help too. We will kick off this Hispanic Heritage Month nationwide with our Dropping Knowledge Initiative. The books banned in Tucson will go viral the old fashioned way-one vato at a time. This will also be a fundraiser to help the youth and the legal team taking AZ HB2811 to court.

Arizona officials have lost their minds and their souls.  They hate us so much that they are willing to sabotage the entire educational system for all of their young.

In a multi-cultural and multi-media era, why would you build a border wall around history? This will be a long and difficult struggle, but we shall win.

It will be poetic justice when the lone Latina Supreme Court Justice signs the opinion overturning HB2811.

Then and only then, will Freedom Ring.

Happy Hispanic Heritage Month, America.


Tony Diaz, also known as El Librotraficante, is the author of the award-winning novel The Aztec Love God  and hosts the Nuestra Palabra Radio Program on 90.1 FM KPFT Houston, Texas. Diaz founded Librotraficante in opposition to Arizona’s ban of Mexican-American studies.

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