Originally, when I decided to publish ¡Ban This! The BSP Anthology of Xican@ Literature, one of the many 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 promised 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 only problem was the classes were dismantled, the teachers fired and the legal battles dragged on. There was nowhere viable to write a check to!
Fast forward to now – the battle still rages on and in some ways it’s worse - the legal teams (MALDEF) dropped the ball and falsely celebrated a victory. But books are still banned, classes are still not allowed, teachers are still fired and the students are left to fend for themselves. And the anti-Chicano/a wildfire is spreading to other states.
Fortunately the students in AZ have some great community leaders and many of them have taken matters into their own hands by holding studies outside of school, some of it counting for college credit. I have been happy to donate books to this effort in the hopes that these kids go on to higher education and push for real change in Arizona and elsewhere.
When I visited Tucson for the 2013 Festival of Books I held a fundraiser with some of the contributors to the book for the students at Revolutionary Grounds Books and Coffee on 4th St.
The owner of the store, Joy Soler, agreed to donate the sales from the book to U.N.I.D.O.S., a youth coalition of students from local Tucson high schools created in response to H.B. 2281, the ban on Ethnic Studies throughout the state of Arizona.
We have written a nice big check to the youth group U.N.I.D.O.S. from the copies of the book !Ban This! donated by Santino J. Rivera and his publishing company, Broken Sword Publications. Community – it’s who we are!
- Joy Soler, owner, Revolutionary Grounds Books & Coffee, Tucson, AZ.
I couldn’t be happier with this outcome and I know the contributors feel the same way. What’s happened over the life of the book thus far is what ¡Ban This! was all about to begin with – community – coast to coast. Unity! U.N.I.D.O.S.!
It was never about myself nor my company. I published ¡Ban This! to do one thing: help fight back. There is still a ton of work left to do and the battle is far from over but we created positive change from negative oppression. To me, that’s a start. Seeing kids benefit from this book and helping to plant seeds for future generations is all I could ask for.
I want to thank Joy and Revolutionary Grounds for making this donation possible to the students! I want to thank the contributors who made this book possible! And I would like to thank you, dear reader, for continuing to support indie publishing.
This is what it’s all about.