Resolution Opposing Restriction of Access to Materials and Open Inquiry in Ethnic and Cultural Studies Programs in Arizona
Friday, February 24, 2012
by: Loida Garcia-Febo

Section: News Articles

February Issue

Loida Garcia-Febo is the REFORMA Legislative Committee Chair. She currently works as the Coordinator at New Americans Program, Queens Library. She is also a REFORMA Past President and ALA Councilor-at-Large.

During the 2012 ALA Midwinter Conference, REFORMA joined members of the American Indian Library Association (ALIA), ALA Intellectual Freedom Committee (IFC) and other ALA units in drafting a resolution condemning 'the suppression of open inquiry and free expression caused by closure of ethnic and cultural studies programs on the basis of partisan or doctrinal disapproval in Tucson, Arizona, the restriction of access to educational materials associated with ethnic and cultural studies programs, and urging the Arizona legislature to pass HB 2654, “An Act Repealing Sections 15-111 and 15-112, Arizona Revised Statutes; Relating to School Curriculum.”  

On the heels of this resolution, about two dozen national organizations released a Joint Statement in Opposition to Book Censorship in the Tucson Unified School District.

This resolution was passed unanimously by the ALA Council and was cited by CNN on an article about the Congressional Hispanic Caucus requesting the U.S. Department of Education's Civil Rights Office to investigate the law that ended the Mexican American Studies and the removal of text books in Tucson. Link  

The following ALA units endorsed the resolution:ALA Committee on Diversity, ALA Committee on Legislation, American Association of School Librarians, American Indian Library Association, Asian Pacific American Librarians Association, Black Caucus of the American Library Association, Chinese American Library Association, Intellectual Freedom Round Table, REFORMA: The National Association to Promote Library & Information Services to Latinos and the Spanish Speaking, Social Responsibilities Round Table, and the Young Adult Library Services Association.

On the heels of this resolution, about two dozen national organizations released a Joint Statement in Opposition to Book Censorship in the Tucson Unified School District. The Freedom to Read Foundation, an affiliate of ALA joined PEN Center USA,  Association of American Publishers, National Youth Rights Association, National Coalition Against Censorship and others to protest the banning of ethnic studies and books.
See Blog entry

Students and teachers continue to advocate for intellectual freedom in Tucson. Currently, REFORMA and AILA are writing statements protesting the actions in Tucson (AZ) Unified School District, and supporting those impacted. The writing of this resolution was truly a beautiful team effort. The work between REFORMA, AILA, ALA Office of Intellectual Freedom and other ALA units and divisions is a great step in the defense of equal access to information and intellectual freedom. It also serves to continue strengthening relationships between all the groups including ALA and its affiliates. I am very proud of what we achieved during the ALA Midwinter Conference in Dallas, TX.

I would like to recognize many REFORMA and AILA colleagues who assertively took swift action and tirelessly worked on drafting the resolution that was refined by working in conjunction with the ALA Intellectual Freedom Committee specifically one of its members, Jim Kuhn. These colleagues shortened meetings to join the working group, and reached each other using phone calls, texting, email, and Facebook to ask others to help with key points in the crafting of the first drafts. Work on the document was done in meeting rooms, conference halls, lunch tables, and shuttle buses. It was inspiring!

Everyone worked very hard on the resolution including REFORMA President, Maria Kramer, AILA President, Sandy Littletree, REFORMA members: Oralia Garza de Cortes, Oscar Baeza, Barbara Miller, Sandra Rios-Balderrama, Robin Fogle Kurz, Lucia Gonzalez, Janice Greenberg, ALA IFC member, Jim Kuhn, AILA member and activist, Debbie Reese, ALA Past President, Carol Brey-Casiano, and ALA Councilors Jose Aponte, Mario Ascencio, Sol Gomez, and I.   

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