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Opinions & Editorials Volver a "Opinions & Editorials"

You Can’t Ban Culture

By Amy Robinson | 04 de julio de 2012

Books are more than just a collection of words. They represent culture, history and critical thinking. The Underground Library at Southwest Workers Union (SWU) aims to champion this message through banned book brunches.

San Antonio.- The next brunch will take place from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. on Saturday July 14 in the SWU’s Movement Gallery at 1412 E. Commerce St. Refreshments, snacks, and thoughts will be shared as members discuss Rudolfo Anaya’s novel Bless Me Ultima.

The enriching brunches are open to the public. Remember to borrow a copy of Anaya’s book from the Underground Library to join the conversation.

The Underground Library was founded this past March as a political message in response to the Arizona House Bill 2281. The bill banned Ethnic Studies at the states's colleges and called for the removal of ethnic books from Arizona schools.

Nuestra Palabra, an organization that promotes the voice of Latino writers, initiated the Librotraficante (“book trafficker”) movement to smuggle books back into the state. Along the way, Librotraficantes established libraries to permanently house the banned literature -- andSan Antonio’s Underground Library was born.

While the Underground Library’s mission was intended to serve as a political response to the Arizona bill, it also serves as a way to preserve culture. The Library aims to proactively prevent the removal of local stories from the community and underscores the idea that multicultural literature is essential to a city’s identity.

Advocates of the library suggest multicultural literature could hinder and repress a city for future generations.

Laura Muraida, an advocate for the Underground Library’s cause, believes banning ethnic books not only “prevents students from learning about their own history and alternate histories” but puts students at an academic disadvantage because it broadens their perspective of the past.

To help San Antonio’s Underground Library and embrace the city’s heritage, start with immersing yourself in a discussion of Anaya’s inspirational novel. The Library is also accepting all donations from books to book ends.

Protect your identity, San Antonio. Show people that while they may try to ban books they can never ban culture.

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