United States: Solidarity Against Censorship of Latino Literature

The elimination of Mexican-American Studies and the censorship of numerous books in the school district of Tuscon, Arizona has generated national support that has taken form in protests, books sales, and reading groups and presentations, amongst other actions. Just as well, censorship of the books has led to very enriching conversations in New York City as throughout the United States.

As examples of these acts of solidarity, here are some of the videos shot by writer Erasmo Guerra during the panel which was organized by the students of John Jay College, City University of New York (CUNY) on February 25th, 2012.

Amongst those invited was the writer, Tony Díaz, founder of Librotraficante, a movement which organized a caravan to smuggle banned books from Houstan, Texas to Arizona in order to reassert the right to literary expression and political resistance.

Following him were Liana López and Bryan Parras, co-founders of Nuestra Palabra: Latinos Writers Have Their Say: an organization that has been creating settings for the dissemination of books by Latin American writers in Houston, Texas for the last 13 years.

From New York was writer Rich Villar, who directs Fundación Acentos: a literary organization established in the Bronx, New York in 2003. In his presentation, Villar outlined very pertinent parrallels between the careers of Puerto Rican writers who are not exempt from repression and the present situation in Tuscon, Arizona.

(After having listened to Villar, if you are interested in knowing more about the career of the Puerto Rican librarian Pura Belpré, you can access the archives from the Center of Puerto Rican Studies, at Hunter College, CUNY.)

We close with the presentation of Sergio Troncoso, a writer born in El Paso, Texas to Mexican parents and who currently resides in New York. Amongst other published works, he has written  The Last Tortilla & Other StoriesThe Nature of  TruthFrom This Wicked Patch of Dust, as well as the book of short stories titled Crossing Borders: Personal Essays. In addition, he writes the blog Chico Lingo: Escritura, Lectura, Dinero, Discusión.

Librotraficante's caravan arrived at its last stop on March 17th, 2012. Its mission will continue by means of future discussions, educative programs, social and political alliances and literary activities. Additionally, as part of their legacy, four “underground libraries” have opened their doors.


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