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A caravan of Libro Traficantes will haul contraband books into Tucson, AZ Spring Break. This will lead to an anthology of banned lit.

HOUSTON (February 13, 2012) - The Librotraficante Caravan will travel from Houston, Texas, to Tucson, Ariz., carrying a payload of contraband books, creating networks of Underground Libraries and leaving community resources in its wake. One of many responses to Arizona’s unconstitutional laws prohibiting Mexican-American Studies, the Librotraficante Caravan has captured the imagination and hearts of activists, writers, educators, and students from all walks of life who want to preserve freedom of speech.

“Every great movement is sparked by outrage at a deep cultural offense,” said Tony Diaz , founder of Nuestra Palabra: Latino Writers Having Their Say, which has led the charge, “When we heard that Tucson Unified School District administrators not only prohibited Mexican-American Studies, but then walked into classrooms, and in front of young Latino students, during class time, removed and boxed up books by our most beloved authors - that was too much. This offended us down to our soul. We had to respond.”

Diaz added, “With their record of anti-immigrant legislation, politicians in Arizona have become experts in making humans illegal. We did not do enough to stop that, thus that anti-immigrant legislation spread to other states such as Alabama and Georgia. Now, these same legislators want to make thoughts illegal. If we allow this to happen, these laws, too, will spread. Other branches of ethnic studies will be prohibited, and other states will follow suit.”

With its radio program and blockbuster literary showcases, Nuestra Palabra: Latino Writers Having Their Say has 13 years of experience promoting Latino literature and literacy with authors and thinkers from across the country. This once informal alliance of artists, activists, educators, and professionals has galvanized to create cornerstone structures for a network that will remain in place for future causes as well.

Banned writers have embraced the caravan and those that will participate along the route include Sandra Cisneros , who kicked off our fundraising efforts by making a generous donation; Guggenheim Fellow Dagoberto Gilb , whose work recently appeared in the New Yorker and Harpers simultaneously; and best selling author Luis Alberto Urrea , with multiple titles found on the banned book list was the first to enthusiastically support the project through Twitter.  

The caravan is intended to: 

1. Raise awareness of the prohibition of the Mexican-American Studies Program and the removal of books from classrooms.

2. Promote banned authors and their contributions to American Literature.

3. Celebrate diversity. Children of the American Dream must unite to preserve the civil rights of all Americans.

4. Create a network of resources for art, literature and activism.

Specific outcomes:

1. Underground Libraries: Librotraficantes will donate copies of the banned books a local nonprofit in Houston, San Antonio, Albuquerque and Tucson. These sites will not only be given copies of the banned titles, but from now on, all multicultural authors are encouraged to mail copies of their books to these sites when they are published, so that our community will always have access to our literature.

2. Teach-ins and a Supplanted Book List: Workshops that include free curriculum guides with literary excerpts and lesson plans that can be used in class and immediately applied to other works.

3. Network of Librotraficantes across the country: This is a case of new media saving the classic media of books. Had Arizona done this ten years ago, we most likely would not have heard about it until it had impacted a second generation of youth. However, because of new technologies and the network of writers and activists who are communicating on multimedia platforms, we were not only able to hear about Arizona’s actions, but to also utilize new media tools to organize some classic activist strategies to respond - from now on!

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    We will list your name on the muses page of the website and also send you a T-shirt that outs you as a Librotraficante! You will also receive either A.) a copy of the anthology we create or b). your name listed as a librotraficante jefe on the Mero Mero page.

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    This includeds the rewards listed for the lower amounts with the added option of seats on the bus we will charter. Your ticket seat is transferrable. Please sponsor a seat for someone if you have the means to.

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    Additional Reward: 1 copies of at least 5 of the authors banned in Arizona. (Signed if possible.) VIP seating at the Tucson Literary Pachanga or at any of our stops along the way. We will list your name on the muses page of the website and also send you a T-shirt that outs you as a Librotraficante! You will also receive either A.) a copy of the anthology we create or b). your name listed as a librotraficante jefe on the Mero Mero page.

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