Kansas City—While attending the Joint Conference of Librarians of Color’s Gathering at the Waters conference, REFORMA invites you to the 50 for Freedom of Speech to hear stories from the struggle in Tucson, Arizona and to learn about the Librotraficante movement that inspired this event, as well as others throughout our nation.
The 50 for Freedom Speech will be held Friday, September 21 from 7-9 p.m. at the Westin Crown Center. The event is a collaborative effort between the Kansas City Latino Writers Collective and J.C.L.C. which celebrates ethnic studies and Mexican-American literature and art. The 50 for Freedom of Speech is a call for participation and support at J.C.L.C. to learn specifics about the books included in the Mexican-American studies curriculum, to listen to readings from these banned books, and to celebrate intellectual freedom.
The censorship that took place in Tucson is widely viewed as an attack on education, literature, culture, and community—a partisan attempt to silence the narratives of communities of color, particularly Mexican-American narratives. Young people of all races and ethnic backgrounds have a right to access the history of their ancestors, and the history of their neighbors' ancestors.
In addition to showing solidarity with the Tucson community, the event seeks to unite supporters of Mexican-American studies, ethnic studies, and intellectual freedom so that grass-root, proactive movements coalesce around making Mexican-American literature and ethnic studies literature available and accessible around the country. The event also seeks to enlist the help of advocates and allies that might help overturn the actions of the Tucson Unified School District.
The 50 for Freedom of Speech event at J.C.L.C. coincides with Librotraficante’s largest observation of Hispanic Heritage Month ever seen. Moreover, Arizona’s banning of Mexican-American studies has created a movement and a national call to action to stand in solidarity with Tucson Unified School District’s Mexican-American Studies Program. Tony Diaz, founder of the popular Librotraficante Movement has worked to organize “literary showcases in every state to defy Arizona’s ban of Mexican American Studies.”
Listen to stories from the struggle in Tucson, and learn about the Librotraficante movement that inspired this event and other state events united in 50 for Freedom of Speech. See www.librotraficante.com for more details.