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Writers Against Racism: Author Ana Castillo REJECTED (Tucson HS)

Over the weekend, I was catching up on my Facebook posts and resting. I had to cancel Jacquie Harvey’s interview for another day because I was truly exhausted.  Anyway, while trolling, I saw a post from YA author Matt de la Peña
How do you say no to Ana Castillo, Tucson?

In a stunning rejection of celebrated author Ana Castillo’s offer to read and speak with Tucson high school students next week, Tucson Unified School District administrators added a new chapter to the nation’s most troubling censorship crackdown.What is going on in Tucson? What message is this sending to their young people? What can we do to help???


  1. bherrera says

    School administrators tend to have knee-jerk reactions and often err on the side of fear. Any teacher who has spoken out publicly becomes a “loose cannon” which scares those who are insecure in their jobs. It’s sad, and the losers are the students and the community. I do lots of activities which scare administrators. They are not dangerous or rebellious, just not the same think we do every year. The unknown and the new scares administrators. I understand why; I just don’t approve. The first word out of my administrators’ mouths are usually “No. It won’t work. I can’t be done.” Now I plan everything ahead of time, then tell my administrators what I’ve organized, how it can work, and my plans if they don’t want it in the schools. This usually works because the last time they said “No one would come,” I took my project to the community, raised 10 tons of food for the food bank, hosted an award winning author which drew thousands, and brought people together. Although I could not have done it alone, now they know that “impossible” is the motivator for me to totally commit to getting something done. Like Tucson is learning; schools may close their doors to the outside world, but the outside world comes in anyway.

    • B, I am impressed at the lengths you go to ensure our children get what they need – diversity in education. It’s shameful that we do not put this at the forefront of our educational pyramid. I have to send you HUGE compliments for being a trailblazer and compliments to your admin to get past it. It’s crazy that we even have to discuss this as a problem. NO?

  2. bherrera says

    Change is hard to accept and publicity scares school leaders because many in the community think teachers are trying to corrupt their children. Exposing students to the world often helps them accept others who are different, and societies have always tried to keep together in homogonous groups in order to protect their beliefs. In today’s world that is impossible, but old ways die hard. While I understand why, I know this is not the right way for anyone. I watch others hesitate in fear of rejection, loss of job, or failure. My mother often tells me that I don’t have sense enough to be afraid. That’s probably true, but I have met some amazing people along the way. Fear is important as a caution flag, but it should never bring our lives to a complete halt. My experiences have taught me to expect the best because it’s much more fun than dreading the worst. And I am glad we are discussing diversity in education. For years it was never talked about. It was just accepted that one voice was THE VOICE. Now I hear a cacaphony of voices in literature and life, all discussing their experiences. As I tell my own children: You want everything to be put right today, but it is usually two slow steps forward and one quick step back in reaction. Not perfect, but sometimes we get to sneak in four or five steps forward before the fear kicks in.

  3. 52. “The road will be overcome by that person, who goes.” I wish you never stopped and be creative forever..!