When I decided to publish ¡Ban This! The BSP Anthology of Xican@ Literature, one of the things I wanted to do was help. Many of us from across the country wanted to do anything that we could to help fight back against the insanity in Arizona…but what?
I told the contributors to the book that a portion of the proceeds would be donated to the kids that were enduring this Fahrenheit 451 saga come to life. The problem with that was the classes were dismantled, the teachers fired and the legal battles dragged on. There was nowhere viable to write a check to.
There were people rallying for donations to some of the lawyers representing some of the teachers but I did not want the proceeds going to anyone but those kids. So I waited.
Good things come to those who wait – it’s true! When I visited Tucson for the 2013 Festival of Books I was able to hold a fundraiser for some of the Mexican American Studies students at Revolutionary Grounds Books and Coffee on 4th St. BSP donated books for the store to sell. Myself, along with Lizz Huerta, Gustavo Arellano and Andrea J. Serrano gave a great reading at the store with the hopes that people would buy the books and the money would go to the kids.
Recently, I have learned that these kids are holding their studies independently and outside of school – on their own time. This is inspiring because it is exactly what I talked about and have been talking about since the inception of this publishing house – fight back and do it independent of the system. Go around the system!
These kids and their teachers are amazing. They are currently asking for donations to keep their independent studies going. The kids receive college credit for their participation – what better revenge than an educated mind?
In an effort of good faith and in the spirit of giving back, BSP has donated books to this class for this semester and next so that they may further their studies and go on to higher education…despite the opposition they face from many in their own community and beyond.
This is your chance to give back and help fight against censorship, book banning and wholesale bigotry. We do not have to live out Fahrenheit 451! Join BSP and help fight the fear. Help these kids and do your part. If not these kids then donate to a scholarship fund in your own community but do something.
“In response to the Tucson Unified School District dismantling Mexican American Studies classes in Tucson, we have started Chican@ Literature After School Studies (CLASS), which meets at the John Valenzuela Youth Center in South Tucson and is free for all students who attend. We meet for at least two hours each Sunday and Prescott College will be offering college credit to these students for attending Sunday classes. It is incredibly important for CLASS to remain free for this small group of young scholars. Thus, we have established the Chican@ Literature And Studies Scholarship (CLASS) Fund in order to raise tuition funds for the students to receive college credit for their participation. Will you invest in these dedicated young people by donating to CLASS today?”