To Former Arizona State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Horne, Arizona State Superintendant of Public Instruction, John Huppenthal, and the Tucson Unified School District
I am writing to protest discriminatory actions on your part that amount to defamation of my character and that of my mother, Rosario Morales, as Latina writers: You have not placed a single one of our books on your list of titles to be banned from the public school curriculum!
It’s true that we are Puerto Rican, not Mexican, but you banned our compatriot Martin Espada. I am not from any of the First Nations of Arizona, and it’s also true that the Tainos have never lived in Arizona in large numbers, (though you did bring a bunch of us in the 1920s to pick cotton,) but you banned Sherman Alexie who is from the Pacific Northwest.
On the last weekend of August I attended the Grief and Growing weekend put on annually by the Bay Area Jewish Healing Center. It was amazing, profound, and yes, healing. Here's the poem I wrote in my head on the drive home from Santa Rosa.
On the island of sad people
a wave breaks forever on the soft stone of our hearts
there is a grove of arms for each of us
that sways gently in the wind of our sighs.
We cry out
and the crows continue their work of being crows.
We cry out
and the deep rooted forest stays rooted deep.
In the crowns of the trees,
ten thousand green-tipped twigs
still reach quietly for the sun.
We cry out and our cries become a flock of small wings circling the place
where we stand weeping.