February 28, 2012
REFORMA RESOLUTION IN SUPPORT OF THE STUDENTS OF THE OUTLAWED MEXICAN AMERICAN STUDIES PROGRAM IN THE TUCSON UNIFIED SCHOOL DISTRICT
REFORMA, the National Association to Promote Library and Information Services to Latinos and the Spanish-speaking, an affiliate of the American Library Association, with nineteen local and regional chapters and at-large members from all parts of the United States, views the dismantling of the Tucson Unified School District (TUSD) Mexican American Studies (MAS) program as a violation of the core principles of intellectual freedom and equity of access.
REFORMA advocates for and affirms students’ right to have access to accurate and meaningful information that will enhance their critical inquiry skills and understanding of an inclusionary society that honors and respects all of its component members. We support student access to diverse literature that lends to inquiry, conversation, and critical thinking – all strengths that we value in the continued building of our democracy.
WHEREAS the 2010 Census found that Arizona’s Hispanic/Latino population accounted for 29.6% of the state’s total population,1 and Tucson’s Hispanic/Latino population accounted for 41.6% of the city’s total population2, with both the state and the city having larger Hispanic/Latino populations than the national average; and
WHEREAS Dr. Arnulfo Trejo, educated in TUSD schools and the University of Arizona and later serving on the faculty of the University of Arizona’s Graduate Library School, in 1971 founded REFORMA and provided its driving force; and
WHEREAS reading list titles associated with the MAS program consist of works written by nationally and internationally renowned, award-winning authors, including but not limited to Sherman Alexie, James Baldwin, Ana Castillo, Sandra Cisneros, Francisco Jimenez, Matt de la Peña, Carmen Tafolla, and Luis Alberto Urrea, whose stories reflect this country’s rich and diverse heritage; and
WHEREAS these books have been removed from classrooms related to the MAS program, and the TUSD school libraries do not contain all of the removed titles, making this literature inaccessible to all TUSD students;3 and
WHEREAS REFORMA views teachers as brothers and sisters in the same mission of fostering the love of reading and education by promoting books, literacy, and critical thinking; and
WHEREAS REFORMA is outraged by the confiscation and removal of these materials from classrooms and asserts that their lack of availability in all school libraries creates de facto censorship;
NOW THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED that REFORMA, the National Association to Promote Library and Information Services to Latinos and the Spanish-speaking:
RESOLVED that REFORMA (The National Association to Promote Library and Information Services to Latinos and the Spanish-speaking):
1 United States Census Bureau, 2010 Census Interactive Population Search: Arizona. Accessed from http://2010.census.gov/2010census/popmap/ipmtext.php?fl=04 on February 11, 2012.
2 United States Census Bureau, State and County Quick Facts: Arizona, January 17, 2012. Accessed from http://quickfacts.census.gov/qfd/states/04000.html on February 11, 2012.
3 Alexis Huicochea, “TUSD Rejects Reports of Book Ban,” Arizona Daily Star, January 18, 2012. Accessed from http://azstarnet.com/news/local/education/precollegiate/tusd-rejects-reports-of-book-ban/article_d2790b34-9618-5eed-80f2-80628edc88f4.html on February 12, 2012.
4 OIF Blog, “Resolution Opposing Restriction of Access to Materials and Open Inquiry in Ethnic and Cultural Studies Programs in Arizona,” January 24, 2012. Accessed from http://www.oif.ala.org/oif/?p=3157 on February 12, 2012.
5 American Indian Library Association, Statement on Ethnic Studies Programs in Arizona, February 2, 2012. Accessed from http://www.ailanet.org/other/AILA_AZ_StatementCORRECTED.pdf on February 12, 2012.
6 Progressive Librarians Guild, PLG Statement on Censorship and the Tucson Unified School District, January 21, 2012. Accessed from http://libr.org/plg/tusd.php on February 12, 2012.