Tuesday at the Edinburgh World Writers' Conference, writers from all over the world—including Pulitzer Prize novelist Junot Diaz—issued a statement condemning Arizona's House Bill 2281, the law that allowed for the banning of books at Tucson Unified School District and the dismantling of TUSD's Mexican American Studies program.
We, the undersigned writers attending the Edinburgh World Writers’ Conference have learned, to our dismay, that the state of Arizona has passed House Bill 2281, which among its other provisions, specifically prohibits, in the public schools, books ‘designed primarily for pupils of a particular ethnic group’. This is being used to ban Latino studies and the dissemination of books written by and about the Latino community. In future this legislation could be used to target any ethnic group and its literatures.
We abhor this racist law and the infringement of the rights of readers and writers. This is a clear case of censorship, which we oppose, and we call upon readers and writers in the US and all over the world to demand the overturn of this law. House Bill 2281 is not just the beginning of a dangerous trend – this is a drastic assault on civil liberties.
Edinburgh, 21 August 2012
Michel Le Bris
José Rodrigues dos Santos