URGENT: How to Stop Tucson Banning Books and Killing Education

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OccupyEducated.org was created as a response to the destruction of the Occupy Wall Street Library in Zuccotti Park (see below video).  We knew other governments would collapse their libraries — for purposes of both repression of ideas or simply the results of hard decisions required with restricted budgets.  

 

Looks like Arizona (surprise, surprise) is vying to be a leader in this sort repression as well; apparently legalizing racism wasn’t a badge of honor shiny enough.  The powers that be have no interest in letting children know where they come from.  Perhaps it’s because those kids may not like those powers so much, once educated.

Below is a plea from amazing The People’s Library.  Step up; this one will be fun!

REQUEST:
In response to the disgraceful decision of the Tucson Unified School District to end the Mexican-American Studies program and to ban books from the school curriculum The People’s Library is holding a series of book drives (Operation Book Bomb Tucson) to support the students and teachers of Tucson.

  • The first book donation event will be held at the next Occupy Town Square on Sunday, February 26 in Tompkins Square Park from 11AM to 5PM.
  • The second book donation event will be held at Word Up Community Bookshop 4157 Broadway at 176th St in Washington Heights on Thursday, March 1 from 7PM to 9PM http://wordupbooks.wordpress.com
  • The third book donation event is TBA but will be held in Sunset Park, Brooklyn in conjunction with the Sunset Park General Assembly (Sunset GA contact me at franceslikespeace@gmail.com)

For these events we are asking people to bring any Spanish language books, books on Mexican history, or books on Latino culture to donate to Tucson. In addition to this we would like to have teach-ins and readings on topics such as educational oppression, immigrant rights, and Mexican-American history. We are reaching out to you our friends and allies to support us in the following areas. Here is some of what we need:

  • Speakers/Teachers willing to share their time on Sunday, February 26 in Tompkins Sq and or on Thursday, March 1 in Washington Heights. Chris Hedges is already scheduled to speak on March 1, but we are looking for additional people to help educate us and the visiting public on issues regarding Immigrant rights and education in our society. If you are knowledgeable or know someone who is knowledgeable on these issues, and would be willing to hold a teach-in please contact us ASAP at owspeopleslibrary@gmail.com
  • Outreach and Press   We want to spread the word to the Latino community throughout New York City. I have written to Councilman Ydanis Rodriguez regarding this event but I have not yet heard back from his office. If anyone has a contact within his office please let us know. Additionally we would like to have announcements made on WBAI 99.5FM as well as the Spanish language radio station MEGA 97.9FM. If anyone has contacts for these stations please pass them onto us. Also we would like to let our friends at Democracy Now know about this campaign. Please let us know if you are willing to contact your colleagues there on our behalf. If you are in the press or on the media team and would like to highlight our campaign please do so!
  • Transportation & Storage   We could really use a friend with a van. We need to transport our donated books from Tompkins Sq Park on Sunday, Feb 26 and from Washington Heights on Thursday, March 1 and get them into storage. Anyone who wants to volunteer to help us with that wins huge hugs from very grateful librarians!
  • Translation   Since our goal here is to outreach with the Spanish speaking community we need translation. We would like our flyers to be printed in English and Spanish and we would like to have our teach-ins conducted in both languages as well. If you are willing to translate copy for our flyers, or to translate on site on either Feb 26, or  March 1, or both please let us know.
  • Design   We need flyers printed up for the March 1 event in Washington Heights. We would like to get them to Word Up Bookshop ASAP so that they can begin letting people in the neighborhood know about the event. Again we want them to be in English on one side and Spanish on the other. If anyone from our design and printing teams wants to get on that we would be very appreciative.

We have already received donations of books from:

  • Richard Delgado the author of the book Critical Race Theory
  • The SouthWest Organizing Project which publishes 500 Years of Chicano History in Pictures by Elizabeth Martinez
  • And Arte Publico Press which sent us Zoot Suit: A Bilingual Edition by Luis Valdez, Y no se lo tragó la tierra… / And the Earth Did Not Devour Him by Tomás Rivera,  Two Badges: The Lives of Mona Ruiz by Mona Ruiz and Geoff Boucher,  Message to Aztlán by Rodolfo “Corky” Gonzales, and Chicano! The History of the Mexican American Civil Rights Movement by F. Arturo Rosales. Additionally Arte Publico is offering us a 50% discount on any books that we order from their catalog for the campaign.

We are very excited about this action and we are thrilled to be able to help the students and teachers of Tucson and to defend the Mexican-American community from this continued injustice. We hope that you will join us in our fight. Please contact us to help with any of these areas at owspeopleslibrary@gmail.com and thank you so much for your continued support.

Warmest Regards,
Frances Mercanti-Anthony
The People’s Library

photo credit: Glenn Beck’s propaganda hit piece “The Blaze”