Saturday, April 7, 2012

OPEN LETTER TO SUPERINTENDENT OF THE TUCSON UNIFIED SCHOOL DISTRICT, DR. JOHN J PEDICONE (COLLABORATION WITH YAGO CURA)


Superintendent John J. Pedicone, Ph.D.
Tucson Unified School District
1010 E. Tenth St.
Tucson, AZ 85719
(520) 225-6000


Hinchas de Poesía
c/o
Yago S. Cura, Publisher
Max Macias, Librarian
11928 Venice Blvd.
L.A., CA 90066


Dear Dr. Pedicone:

            We have never met, and my son and/or daughter is not matriculated in the school district you oversee. I am writing today in my capacity as the publisher of Hinchas de Poesía (www.hinchasdepoesia.com), a fledgling online literary journal, and in collaboration with Max Macias, a Chicano librarian living near Portland, Oregon. We are both members of REFORMA, although the contents of this letter and the opinions expressed herein solely belong to us (Yago S. Cura and Max Macias).
We are writing to express our intense gratitude for your continuing, yet albeit wholly indirect, support of Ethnic Studies in the United States of America. Put simply, if it were not for you upholding Arizona state law ARS 15-112, which prohibits the use of educational materials that, "promote the overthrow of the United States government; promote resentment toward a race or class of people; are designed primarily for pupils of a particular ethnic group; advocate ethnic solidarity instead of the treatment of pupils as individuals," then Ethnic Studies in the United States might still be relegated to a tangential artery of U.S. literature.  In one fell swoop of pencil-pushing preemptiveness, you have guaranteed the ascent of Ethnic Studies in this country for at least another 10 years. My humble journal doesn’t sell advertisements, so this will at least ensure that we remain relevant (and salient--since I cover all overhead) for at least another five to seven years.
Your harsh, undercover promotion of Ethnic Studies has certainly caught the attention of a generation of disaffected youth of color, who might not have ever heard of Ethnic Studies, nor read the books the school district chose to ban. Whereas before these students were slightly motivated to learn historical perspectives not routinely offered to them, now they are up-in-arms and agitated to learn their history.  In other words, you have inadvertently created convenient reading lists of forbidden books for young people. You have given them reason to utilize their nearest public library, seeking these books.

Your concerted attacks might have actually even increased the circulation of these forbidden tomes in inner-city libraries and under-resourced school system libraries.  We anticipate “Latino” literature will germinate a new corps of writers from the vigilant, patriotic headlocks you have exerted on some of these titles, such as Howard Zinn’s A People’s History of the U.S., Sherman Alexie’s The Lone Ranger and Tonto Fistfight in Heaven (a book I had the pleasure of forcing my students in the Bronx to read), and Luis Rodriguez’s Always Running: La Vida Loca—Gang Days in L.A.
Max and I are both survivors of Reaganomics, and we have oodles of respect for Hip-Hop. Interestingly enough, there are many music critics who believe that without the social squeeze put on people of color by Reaganomics, there would have been no Hip-Hop culture. Could you imagine a world without Afrika Bambattaa, Public Enemy, or KRS-One, just to name a few? As a small online publisher, I probably would have had increasingly less and less to publish if you would have just left Mexican American Studies alone. The important, but immaterial ideas disseminated in Ethnic Studies classes have to compete with the more lucrative disciplines like Business and Biological Sciences. Now, however, we predict, there will be a renaissance of new Ethnic Studies presses that develop to publish new studies, articles, fiction, poetry and editorials from the myriad aspects and perspectives that these values bring to light.  These new presses will present avenues for new ideas and great historical works to be published and spread throughout our great nation and the world.  Videos, podcasts, and other new forms of media will be produced and made available to the masses.  We simply cannot thank you enough.
There is a deep distrust of your actions felt by people in our communities; it is our hope that this letter will help them see your actions in a new light.  Hegel’s Cunning of Reason is alive and well in the United States--particularly in Arizona! Let's be honest-- without your sage and cosmopolitan bigotry, many of the writers whose books you rightfully banned might have been relegated to the status of literary conference speakers and community college hacks--destined solely to the erosion of illiteracy at the "hood" level.  Now, there will be an unprecedented call for these authors to make appearances, and book orders will grow. More importantly, you and your peers have (as Sherman Alexie has already pronounced) made these texts “sacred”; by making them politically illicit, you have polarized their attractiveness.  Seizing them off of the shelves of schools in your state you have provisioned the liberal opposition with a facile foray of direct opposition. At the very least, you have made them eminently attractive to minority students and disenfranchised American youth. You have forced editors out of their editing chairs and deputized them (informally, of course) to become book smugglers, or librotraficantes.
Tony Diaz, the editor of Nuestra Palabra: Latino Writers Having Their Say, could have just been another minority writer, editor, translator, teacher; you have made him aspire to justice and smuggle into your district relatively popular texts which now smolder with the mesmerizing possibilities of something forbidden. You have empowered our texts at a time when less and less people are reading books, and less and less people of color are publishing and writing them.
We believe we can agree on one irrefutable fact.  The T.U.S.D. is doing something right:  they are increasing an interest in education. You are giving educated Ethnic Studies professors a lectern from which to speak; this will only increase education and the desire to be educated in the Latino community.  As you’re aware, education is the best weapon against oppression and indoctrination. Placing Paolo Freire’s Pedagogy of the Oppressed on your banned books list highlights his emphasis on these ideas; Freire’s study is something all readers can directly relate to, explaining why unjust social conditions are allowed to propagate. Our people are interested in what everyone is interested in--bettering their lives and creating opportunities for their children.
Again, we want to thank you in advance for your efforts toward propagating, promulgating, and publicizing excellent works by our most celebrated Latino writers, historians, and intellectuals.

Gracias!


Yago S. Cura
Publisher, Hinchas de Poesía

Max Macias
American Librarian


Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Buy a copy from the AZ Banned book list for your local library!


The idiots from TUSD have created more awareness about Ethnic Studies in the US than I have ever seen.  I am 45 years old.  Thank you AZ!  

There are Ethnic Studies events going on around the nation, and I would like to participate by requesting you purchase a book from this list and donate it to your local library.  We are going to increase the Ethnic Studies Collections in libraries around the nation!


Please share and post widely!


Max


High School Course Texts and Reading Lists Table 20: American Government/Social Justice Education Project 1, 2 - Texts and Reading Lists

Rethinking Columbus: The Next 500 Years (1998) by B. Bigelow and B. PetersonThe Latino Condition: A Critical Reader (1998) by R. Delgado and J. StefancicCritical Race Theory: An Introduction (2001) by R. Delgado and J. StefancicPedagogy of the Oppressed (2000) by P. FreireUnited States Government: Democracy in Action (2007) by R. C. RemyDictionary of Latino Civil Rights History (2006) by F. A. RosalesDeclarations of Independence: Cross-Examining American Ideology (1990) by H. Zinn


Table 21: American History/Mexican American Perspectives, 1, 2 - Texts and Reading Lists

Occupied America: A History of Chicanos (2004) by R. AcuñaThe Anaya Reader (1995) by R. AnayaThe American Vision (2008) by J. Appleby et el.Rethinking Columbus: The Next 500 Years (1998) by B. Bigelow and B. PetersonDrink Cultura: Chicanismo (1992) by J. A. BurciagaMessage to Aztlán: Selected Writings (1997) by R. GonzalesDe Colores Means All of Us: Latina Views Multi-Colored Century (1998) by E. S. Martínez500 Años Del Pueblo Chicano/500 Years of Chicano History in Pictures (1990) by E. S. MartínezCodex Tamuanchan: On Becoming Human (1998) by R. RodríguezThe X in La Raza II (1996) by R. RodríguezDictionary of Latino Civil Rights History (2006) by F. A. RosalesA People's History of the United States: 1492 to Present (2003) by H. Zinn


Course: English/Latino Literature 7, 8

Ten Little Indians (2004) by S. AlexieThe Fire Next Time (1990) by J. BaldwinLoverboys (2008) by A. CastilloWomen Hollering Creek (1992) by S. CisnerosMexican White Boy (2008) by M. de la PenaDrown (1997) by J. DíazWoodcuts of Women (2000) by D. GilbAt the Afro-Asian Conference in Algeria (1965) by E. GuevaraColor Lines: "Does Anti-War Have to Be Anti-Racist Too?" (2003) by E. MartínezCulture Clash: Life, Death and Revolutionary Comedy (1998) by R. Montoya et al.Let Their Spirits Dance (2003) by S. Pope DuarteTwo Badges: The Lives of Mona Ruiz (1997) by M. RuizThe Tempest (1994) by W. ShakespeareA Different Mirror: A History of Multicultural America (1993) by R. TakakiThe Devil's Highway (2004) by L. A. UrreaPuro Teatro: A Latino Anthology (1999) by A. Sandoval-Sanchez & N. Saporta SternbachTwelve Impossible Things before Breakfast: Stories (1997) by J. YolenVoices of a People's History of the United States (2004) by H. Zinn


Course: English/Latino Literature 5, 6

Live from Death Row (1996) by J. Abu-JamalThe Lone Ranger and Tonto Fist Fight in Heaven (1994) by S. AlexieZorro (2005) by I. AllendeBorderlands La Frontera: The New Mestiza (1999) by G. AnzalduaA Place to Stand (2002), by J. S. BacaC-Train and Thirteen Mexicans (2002), by J. S. BacaHealing Earthquakes: Poems (2001) by J. S. BacaImmigrants in Our Own Land and Selected Early Poems (1990) by J. S. BacaBlack Mesa Poems (1989) by J. S. BacaMartin & Mediations on the South Valley (1987) by J. S. BacaThe Manufactured Crisis: Myths, Fraud, and the Attack on America's Public Schools (1995) by D. C. Berliner and B. J. BiddleDrink Cultura: Chicanismo (1992) by J. A BurciagaRed Hot Salsa: Bilingual Poems on Being Young and Latino in the United States (2005) by L. Carlson & O. HijuielosCool Salsa: Bilingual Poems on Growing up Latino in the United States (1995) by L. Carlson & O. HijuelosSo Far From God (1993) by A. CastilloAddress to the Commonwealth Club of California (1985) by C. E. ChávezWomen Hollering Creek (1992) by S. CisnerosHouse on Mango Street (1991), by S. CisnerosDrown (1997) by J. DíazSuffer Smoke (2001) by E. Diaz BjorkquistZapata's Discipline: Essays (1998) by M. EspadaLike Water for Chocolate (1995) by L. EsquievelWhen Living was a Labor Camp (2000) by D. GarcíaLa Llorona: Our Lady of Deformities (2000), by R. GarciaCantos Al Sexto Sol: An Anthology of Aztlanahuac Writing (2003) by C. García-Camarilo et al.The Magic of Blood (1994) by D. GilbMessage to Aztlan: Selected Writings (2001) by Rodolfo "Corky" GonzalesSaving Our Schools: The Case for Public Education, Saying No to "No Child Left Behind" (2004) by Goodman et al.Feminism is for Everybody (2000) by b hooksThe Circuit: Stories from the Life of a Migrant Child (1999) by F. JiménezSavage Inequalities: Children in America's Schools (1991) by J. KozolZigzagger (2003) by M. MuñozInfinite Divisions: An Anthology of Chicana Literature (1993) by T. D. Rebolledo & E. S. Rivero...y no se lo trago la tierra/And the Earth Did Not Devour Him (1995) by T. RiveraAlways Running - La Vida Loca: Gang Days in L.A. (2005) by L. RodriguezJustice: A Question of Race (1997) by R. RodríguezThe X in La Raza II (1996) by R. RodríguezCrisis in American Institutions (2006) by S. H. Skolnick & E. CurrieLos Tucsonenses: The Mexican Community in Tucson, 1854-1941 (1986) by T. SheridanCurandera (1993) by Carmen TafollaMexican American Literature (1990) by C. M. TatumNew Chicana/Chicano Writing (1993) by C. M. TatumCivil Disobedience (1993) by H. D. ThoreauBy the Lake of Sleeping Children (1996) by L. A. UrreaNobody's Son: Notes from an American Life (2002) by L. A. UrreaZoot Suit and Other Plays (1992) by L. ValdezOcean Power: Poems from the Desert (1995) by O. Zepeda


UPDATE, Monday, January 16, 2012

The list above is not complete. As I learn of other titles that have been boxed, I will add them to the list.

Bless Me Ultima by Rudolfo AnayaYo Soy Joaquin/I Am Joaquin by Rodolfo GonzalesInto the Beautiful North by Luis Alberto UrreaThe Devil's Highway by Luis Alberto Urrea

Friday, January 20, 2012

National Digital Ethnic Studies Library Now!

Hi everyone,

I do not know if an Ethnic Studies Digital Library exists, but I believe we NEED to create one due to the oppressive climate in education today.

Historically, education has failed Latinos and Black students.

I would like to volunteer to coordinate the construction of a National Ethnic Studies Digital Library.

I also think this library should, perhaps be funded from Outside the current education system--as this system is White-supremacist and colonial at its foundation.

Does anyone know if a current National Ethnic Studies Library exists?

What do you think of this idea?

Would you be willing to help?

I do not know enough to do this by myself, and do not feel it should be done by a few people--it should be done on a grand scale--the scale that a National Ethnic Studies Digital Library deserves.

Here is our FB Planning group:

https://www.facebook.com/groups/213376968755122/


Here is the link to a Spreadsheet that we are using to collect Ethnic Studies Collections:

Ethnic Studies Collection Spreadsheet

Please fill it out with collections you are aware of and think should be included.

Thank you!


Max Macias

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