Banned Books Week

Celebrating the Freedom to Read: Sept. 21-27, 2014

Tony Diaz

2012 Librotraficante Caravan to Smuggle Banned Books back into Arizona
Director of Cultural Diversity at Lone Star College
The Woodlands, Texas

The 2012 Librotraficante Caravan to Smuggle Banned Books back into Arizona culminated in Tucson, Arizona; and in 2013 the Librotraficantes thwarted similar legislation in Austin, Texas via TX SB1128 and HB1938.

How did you hear about the book challenge in your community and why did you take action?

The students of Tucson Unified School District let the world know what was happening via social media. In Texas, a Librotraficante from El Paso found a story tucked away online that alluded to TX SB1128 possibly being proposed.

You can get books at the library or store, why should we care about a book being removed from one class of students or one community?

We as a society must make it easier for books to get into the hands of people. We can’t forget that it takes time, energy, and money for a book to wind up in front of a person. Books can costs more than one person makes during a shift of work. Some people work so hard, care for their family, and do not have the time to dedicate 4 to 6 hours, to 20 hours in a month to reading. Everyone does not have access to education, and the quality of their education is influenced by the factors just mentioned as well as others. There are just a few of the factors that lead to reading becoming a revolutionary act that we must protect and cultivate.

Why do you think being aware of book challenges or bans is important to our country today?

Some might believe that our country influences the rest of the world through its military. It is our ideas, our imagination, the American Dream and the American Imagination through intellectual freedom and freedom of speech that have captured the imagination of the world.

Who inspires you? Who is your hero?

I am inspired by the Tucson students who are suing the state of Arizona to overturn AZHB2811. They are fighting for every American’s right to Intellectual freedom. Their case will go to the 9th district federal court in Spring of 2014 in San Francisco.