With Arizona's top court set to decide the fate of the Mexican-American studies program in Tucson on June 26, "Librotraficante," or "Booktrafficker," is gearing up to launch a campaign in support of the ethnic studies program.
In 2010, the city legislature banned the Tucson Unified School District's Mexican-American studies program through House Bill 2281, suspending the program, the Tucson Weekly reported.
The bill makes it illegal to teach classes that “promote the overthrow of the United States government;” “promote resentment toward a race or class of people;” “are designed primarily for pupils of a particular ethnic group;” or “advocate ethnic solidarity instead of the treatment of pupils.”
Since then, the bill's legality has faced challenges and in 2015, the U.S. 9th Circuit Court of Appeals found parts of the statute unconstitutional.
Librotraficante, an anti-establishment literary movement that was set up in 2012 as a response to Arizona's ban, will launch again on June 21 as they journey from Houston to Tucson, with a cargo of books that have been banned from the Tucson School District.
Its website states, "the goal of the caravan is to raise awareness regarding Latino Studies being banned in Arizona, promote books of banned Latino authors and celebrate many cultures: children of the American Dream must unite to preserve the civil rights of all Americans.”
The activists will make the more than 1,000-mile trip "to draw attention to Arizona's prohibition, to restock the underground libraries they formed during their 2012 Caravan, and to share updates on the advancement of Ethnic Studies in each state they pass through."
The 6-city caravan will depart from Houston, Texas with scheduled stops at San Antonio & El Paso, Texas; Mesilla and Albuquerque, New Mexico, and finally, Tucson.
Tony Diaz, the campaign's main organizer, told Remezcla, “At the most practical level, we want to raise awareness about the trial against Arizona’s banning of Mexican-American studies.
“We will also study the tactics and strategies used by Arizona to suppress Mexican-American studies. And we must make people aware that if this law is upheld, (the) ban (could be used) to prohibit not just Mexican-American studies, but also African-American, Asian-American studies and women’s studies in every state.”
According to Huffington Post, the list of books that have been banned is exhaustive and includes important authors and activists’ of Latin American descent.
Some of the titles that have troubled the Tucson School District and are facing a ban are, "Critical Race Theory" by Richard Delgado; "500 Years of Chicano History in Pictures" edited by Elizabeth Martinez; "Message to AZTLAN" by Rodolfo Corky Gonzales; "Chicano! The History of the Mexican Civil Rights Movement" by Arturo Rosales; "Pedagogy of the Oppressed " by Paulo Freire; "Occupied America: A History of Chicanos" by Rodolfo Acuna; and "Rethinking Columbus: The Next 500 Years" by Bill Bigelow.