REFORMA, the National Association to Promote Library and Information Services to Latinos and the Spanish-speaking, supports efforts by community members to having courageous critiques and difficult conversations on publishing, marketing, and discussions of books based on Latino experiences. The pain, anger, and disappointment that community members are expressing are not solely based on a single title or author. Rather, the critiques we have seen are a response to the systemic silencing of Latinx authors and communities of color by the publishing industry. It is apparent that the stories of our communities are often valued by the industry when produced by those who have not lived the experiences first hand. The power behind publishing, promoting, and consuming stories is immense; what we read shapes the national consciousness.
We are also saddened that it appears our experiences can only be profitable when our trauma is exploited and sensationalized. In turn, the Latinx experience is flattened into one-dimensional stereotypes, where we only exist to be vessels for trauma and pain; our redemption can only be had when we turn away from our roots and each other to strive for the hegemonic American Dream. REFORMA would like to applaud the coalition building that this national conversation has created. We have mobilized; the call to action has been made. REFORMA has also taken this moment in time to evaluate how our members can be better represented in the publishing world, and what we as an organization can do to achieve this. REFORMA has begun discussions on establishing a dedicated reading list and an annual Adult Fiction Award highlighting the stories that are written by and resonate with Latinos. We call upon our members to be part of this movement, and hope to begin these initiatives shortly.
Established in 1971, REFORMA has actively sought to promote the development of library collections to include Spanish-language and Latino-oriented materials; the recruitment of more bilingual and bicultural library professionals and support staff; the development of library services and programs that meet the needs of the Latino community; the establishment of a national information and support network among individuals who share our goals; the education of the U.S. Latino population with regard to the availability and types of library services; and lobbying efforts to preserve existing library resource centers serving the interests of Latinos. For more information on REFORMA, visit reforma.org.
This statement was called upon by REFORMA members and has been approved by the REFORMA 2019-2020 Executive Board: Kenny Garcia, President; Oscar Baeza, Vice President/President-elect; Madeline Peña, Immediate Past President; Ana Campos, Secretary; Denice Adkins, Treasurer; Manny Figueroa, Eastern Region Chapter Representative; Nicanor Diaz, Central Region Chapter Representative; David Lopez, Western Region Chapter Representative; Allina Migoni, Member-at-Large Representative.
January 30, 2020