Sunday, October 28, 2012

Librotraficantes Mark Opening of New Latino Cultural Space in Central City

From a press release from friends of the Librotraficantes:
Join the Librotraficantes for an evening of contraband prose at Casa Borrega, 1719 Oretha Castle Haley Boulevard, Friday, November 2, from 7-8:30pm.

Imagine the New Orleans School Board banning African American books. Well, the equivalent of this happened just this year in Tucson where the Latino population is comparable in size to that of the African Americans in New Orleans.

In January 2012 the Tucson Unified School Board banned Mexican American ethnic studies. This means no history, prose, fiction or other forms of Mexican American culture can be taught in the schools.  This includes classics like Bless Me Ultima by Rudolfo Anaya and The House on Mango Street by Sandra Cisneros. This anti-constitutional book ban is part of a curriculum change to avoid “biased, political and emotionally charged” teaching. In response to this law, the Librotraficante Caravan to Smuggle Banned Books Back to Tucson grew and blossomed into a movement. In March of 2012, the group organized six cities, smuggled over 1,000 “wet-books” donated from all over the country, and opened four Under Ground Libraries.

According to their website, “The Librotraficante movement is the tip of the pyramid. It stands on the base created by its parent organization Nuestra Palabra: Latino Writers Having Their Say. Nuestra Palabra has been promoting Latino literature and literacy in Houston, Texas since 1998. “

The original Librotraficante and founder of Nuestra Puebla is professor and writer Tony Diaz, the author of novel The Aztec Love God, which was selected as the 1998 Nilon Award for Excellence in Minority Fiction. Ishmael Reed called Diaz “Relentlessly brilliant.”  Diaz has just completed his second novel The Children of the Locust Tree.

According to the New York Times, “Mr. Diaz is the impresario behind an inspiring act of indignation and cultural pride.”  Tony explains, “My first job as a child was to translate the outside world for my parents. Now, I translate our culture for the rest of the world.”

Tony and fellow Librotraficantes Liana Lopez and Bryan Parras are travelling the country to raise awareness sharing their mind altering prose, news, and writing-before it is confiscated.

With its growing Latino population, Greater New Orleans has been desperately in need of a gathering place to celebrate the cultural life of this important ethnic group. Casa Borrega intends to fill the gap, and this event serves as a sneak preview for the venue, which will open later this year.

Casa Borrega will have an altar installed to celebrate Dia de los Muertos (Day of the Dead).

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