Authors Tony Diaz and Dagoberto Gilb. (Photo by Liana Lopez)
I want to congratulate my sisters and brothers in the cause, Librotraficante led by author Tony Diaz, on their victory against the anti-Ethnic Studies bills filed by Patrick and Capriliogne. Here’s a press release of a victory event held earlier today, slightly modified.
Houston, TX (May 9, 2013) – The Librotraficante Movement is thrilled to announce that Texas united and stopped HB1938 & SB1128, which threatened to effectively dismantle Ethnic Studies. Texas did not let HB1938 take U.S. History Back to 1938 before Ethnic Studies and Women’s Studies existed.
The Librotraficantes celebrated with a Book Liberation Party on the Capitol steps this Friday, May 10, Noon, in Austin, Texas featuring authors whose works were banned in Arizona but have been freed in Texas. This will include Dagoberto Gilb, whose banned books include Woodcuts of Women. We have also scheduled San Antonio’s first Poet Laureate Carmen Tafolla, whose collection of poetry Curandera was banned in Arizona. She is battling cancer, so may not be able to participate. However, she has been a big champion and inspiration to our cause.
The Book Liberation Party will also include testimonies from students, activists, and new authors who supported this movement and who can continue to have their voices and imaginations nourished by studying Mexican American History, African American History, Women’s History, and other Ethnic Studies, and these courses shall continue to count toward the History Components of their Core requirement in Texas colleges and Universities.
At the onset of Spring Break, Texas Republican House Representative Giovanni Capriglione submitted HB1938 and Texas Senator Dan Patrick submitted SB1128, which threatened to legislate a Comprehensive U.S or Texas History course to fulfill Core History requirements without revealing the exact content of these courses. This bill would have demoted Mexican American History, African American History, and Women’s History to electives, effectively dismantling these programs.
Tony Diaz, El Librotraficante, said, “Capriglione and Patrick submitted these bills on the first day of Spring Break. They must not have realized that the Librotraficantes spend Spring Break defying oppression. At this time last year, we launched the Librotraficante Caravan to Smuggle Banned Books Back into Arizona, and this year we defended Ethnic Studies in our own back yard. This is a warning to all far right legislators in any State of the Union, if you attack our History, our Culture, or our books, we will defy you. And we will win.”
Activists will remain vigilant to ensure that elements of these bills do not creep into other bills that have made it to a vote during the rest of the Texas legislative session.
Diaz, added, “As activists, it seems we are always on the defensive. That has to stop. We are planning to run candidates this fall for offices that will change that.”
Just a reminder that starting at noon on Tuesday, January 8, Texas HOPE will be rallying at the South Steps of the Texas Capitol to remind Texas Legislators that they have a job to do, and part of that job is to give attention to those legislative items that they have highlighted.
“Latinos cannot continue to be ignored,” said Joey Cardenas, Executive Director of HOPE. “The future of Texas depends on the investments Texas puts into education, higher education, healthcare, and economic development for all Texans. Latino leaders throughout Texas are here to make their voices heard and bring attention to the failed policies of the past that are harming our kids and families.”
“The William C. Velasquez Institute is proud to stand with Texas Latino groups as we strive to change policy towards the betterment of our community. We ask the Legislature to work with us to make Texas the model all states follow in pro-immigrant policies, job creation, protecting our environment and educating all children,” said Patricia Gonzales, Senior Vice President WCVI.
“We call on the Governor and the Texas Legislature to make Latinos and their families a priority this legislative session. We call on Texas Government to invest on the Latino community’s present and future. Latinos need to be part of the solution and at the table not on the menu,” said Lydia Camarillo, SVREP Vice President.
The rally speakers list also includes a Houston voice, that of Fidencio Leija, Jr. of Latinos. Engaged. United. Voting. “The demographic changes, statewide and within our school districts, community colleges and universities, show us that if we want Texas’ star to shine brighter, Latinos must be a priority and a part of our future success as a state. The voting impact of Latinos is being felt nationally and we will no longer be seen as a “what if” community. Likewise, we must re-commit to ensure our Veterans are also beneficiaries of our state’s investment–in job creation, education, and health care. It is up to the legislature to take this seriously and enact policies that are good for all Texans, or else they will feel it at the ballot box.”
More details from the rally later.
Texas HOPE Capitol Rally
“Hispanics Organized for Political Education”
Date: Tue, January 8th, 2013
Place: South steps of the Capitol
Texas HOPE Capitol Rally Speakers List: 83rd Texas Legislative Session
Pledge of Allegiance and Prayer
1. Linda Chavez- HOPE member/Immediate Past LULAC State Director
2. Hector Flores- HOPE member/Past LULAC National President
3. Luis Figueroa- MALDEF Legislative coordinator
4. Lydia Camarillo- Director Southwest Voter Registration and Education Project
5. Juan Flores- Executive Director of La Fe Policy center
6. Bea Martinez- HOPE member/Chair of LEFT/board member GDHCC
7. Dr. Albert Cortez- IDRA funding policy analyst
8. Nick Peña- American G.I. Forum, veterans affairs liaison- San Antonio
9. Dr. Patricia Lopez- Associate Director NLERAP
10. Patricia Gonzales- Director WCVI
11. Gloria Leal- MABA representative
1. Cristina Garcia- Texas State Director for Young Adults/Collegiate councils
2. Henry Rodriguez- President of Los Zapatistas, San Antonio
3. Rene Lara- AFL/CIO
4. Fidencio Leija- Co-founder, LEUV PAC, Houston
5. Dr. C.P. Garcia- American G.I. Forum, Hector P. Garcia Chapter
6. Rene Martinez- HOPE member/Dallas District 3 Director
1. Montserrat Garibay- board member Educate Austin
2. Aurelio Montemayor- IDRA outreach coordinator
3. Mary Lou Canales- HOPE member/Texas State Director for Women
4. Elia Mendoza- Texas State Director, LULAC
5. Velma Ybarra- Texas HOPE Education Committee Chair
6. Rep. Roberto Alonzo/Rep. Trey Martinez-Fisher/Sen. Jose Rodriguez
1. Luis Juarez- President UT Longhorn Council
2. Placido Salazar- American GI Forum Commander, San Antonio
3. Alonzo Salas- Spokesperson for Voto Latino, Dallas
4. Cynthia Valadez- LEFT board officer/East Austin community activist
5. Austin ISD board member- Gina Hinojosa or Dr. Jaime Mathias
6. Steve Huerta- Organizer, All of Us or None
1. Carlos Manuel- District 3 Deputy Director, Dallas
2. Walter Trejo- ULI (University Leadership Institute) representative
3. Anayeli Marcos- ULI representative
4. Abigail Zapote- President of UT Dallas Council
5. Christopher Enriquez- President of Eastfield Collage/North TX Dream Team
NOTE: Any legislator who is a friend of the coalition who shows up will immediately be given time and introduced by the current speaker.