Superintendent John J. Pedicone, Ph.D.
Tucson Unified School District
1010 E. Tenth St.
Tucson, AZ 85719
Hinchas de Poesia
Yago S. Cura, Publisher
Max Macias, Librarian
1_9__ Venice Blvd.
L.A., CA. 90066
We have never met, and my son and/or daughter is not a student in the school district you oversee. I am writing today in my capacity as the publisher of Hinchas de Poesía (www.hinchasdepoesia.com), an online literary journal, and in collaboration with Max Macias, a Chicano librarian that lives near Portland, OR. We are both members of REFORMA, although the contents of this letter and the opinions expressed herein are solely our opinions (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 just be a tangential, ancillary artery of Literature.
As a small online publisher I may have had increasingly less and less to publish; likewise, with less Ethnic Studies books, Max would have less and less books to shelf (because that's the only thing librarians really do!)We understand that you are not only upholding the law, but your conscience as well! We salute your efforts and comprehend that without the pencil-pushing demagogues in the T.U.S.D. Governing Board and the myopic middle-management zanganos that could not teach their way out of a sopping-wet, paper bag, there is no way you could have marched into that classroom in Tucson High Magnet School, boxed up those books, and goose-stepped out.
We understand your leagues of apology press releases and we salute (heartily, as if from a fatherland) your press releases that negate Shakespeare's The Tempest as a banned text, or that the texts that are banned are available through the Tucson Public Library, which assuredly has enough Ethnic Studies texts available for every darn Arizonian. There is so much compassion in the Latino community that we blanket you with understandings, comprehendings, and cognitive integrative systems. But, 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 hags and community college writing hacks destined solely to the erosion of illiteracy at the "hood" level.
But, as Sherman Alexie believes, you have made these texts sacred, eminently attractive to minority students, and a hive of rumors, gospel, heresy, and yellow journalism. You have a 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 unknown 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, especially when the numbers of people of color is at an all time low-high not high-low.
A Spanglish blog dedicated to the works, ruminations, and mongrel pyrotechnics of Yago S. Cura, an Argentine-American poet, translator, publisher & futbol cretin. Yago publishes Hinchas de Poesia, an online literary journal, & is the sole proprietor of Hinchas Press.