August 11, 2015. Houston, TX: Discrimination is the only explanation for Arizona's banning of Mexican American Studies, threatening intellectual freedom for the entire nation.
The 9th Circuit Court of Appeals suggested as much in their opinion on July 7, 2015.
This is the ruling regarding the court case against Arizona's law used to ban Mexican American Studies. The court heard "Maya Arce vs Huppenthal", now called "Maya Arce vs Douglas," in January.
The Librotraficantes were honored to be in the court room to witness history and hear first hand the oral arguments. Arizona's testimony bordered on parody. At one point, the lawyer for Arizona argued, “Student achievement is irrelevant.” But the federal judges with their probing and questioning seem to have put Arizona in check.
Although Mexican Americans suffered the brunt of this discriminatory law, it should be crystal clear by now that Arizona’s unfair, un-American law puts Intellectual Freedom in danger for all Americans.
Even during the court proceedings, the judges asked AZ counsel, "Suppose you had a class in Chinese Language, one that helps Chinese students, would that be illegal in Arizona?"
The lawyer for AZ answered-“Yes.”
On his last day of office, outgoing Education Chief Huppenthal notified TUSD that an African American Studies course was breaking the law by teaching KRS-One Lyrics.
Evidently for Arizona far right Republicans being multicultural means banning Asian and African Americans Studies in addition to Mexican American Studies.
In this age of Ferguson, Ayotzinapa, and the banning of Mexican American Studies, we need Ethnic Studies to cultivate not just leaders who can navigate these cultural crises; we need leaders who can avoid them.
We salute the Tucson community who inspired us to unite to keep this un-American law from spreading, and to commit to spreading Ethnic Studies in our own states.
The entire nation must stand with Tucson as they continue this fight. It is powerful that the racism they have suffered will be documented as we approach the presidential election. The Republican Party must decide if this unfair, un-American law represents the goals of their party. And the Democrats must not stand silently on the sidelines and must more actively stand up for our community's civil rights.
It appears that every 40 to 50 years Democracy must be rebooted. This time the task has fallen on the broad shoulders and broader imaginations of Chican@s. We look forward to uniting with our brother and sisters from all walks of life to defend freedom of speech and intellectual freedom. And we look forward to reading the happy ending to this episode in powerful prose that will appear in history books that some day, too, some other oppressor will want to ban. But we will be ready for them.
And we must never forget that this happened.
In March of 2012 the Librotraficante Caravan smuggled the books banned in Tucson back into Arizona. www.Librotraficante.com They opened 4 Librotraficante Under Ground Libraries along the way and have opened several more since. Last year they organized the first Librotraficante 50 for Freedom of Speech. They have also stopped Anti-ethnic Studies legislation in Texas. www.StopTXhb1938.org
Tony Diaz, El Librotraficante