Monday, December 06, 2004

On ColorinColorado

Anyone familiar with the lore of Spanish children's stories, games and rhymes knows that when you hear the phrase " Y ColorinColorado..." you know that the story will soon come to an end. The phrase is equivalent to the Nordic " Snip, Snap, Snout.... this's tale's told out."

I decided to use this phrase for my blog title, because I felt that in writing, at least for me, today's story is in process, and while one may think the end ( of the story that is) is near, it is far from over. In fact, stories, especially family stories, " tales" as Amos Oz prefers to call them ( as opposed to a memoir ; a publisher's invention, he say) are hardly far from over. Nor is the work of shaping a better world. Yesterday's gain are today eroded by short-sighted, blind-sided, narrow-minded men and women who have lost sight of the American ideals in favor of the dollar and their own self-centeredness.

So the tale is far from over, even as one thinks they can bring closure to a topic or subject dear at heart.

Comoquieraquesepas, Life is like that. We come to a conclusion, but quickly discover, that, in the words of Michael Finnegan, we must " ..Begin Again."








Thursday, December 02, 2004

Lectura y Vida

Call me Loca por Libros, but I love reading, and books. That was not always the case. I was a slow reader growing up in South Texas ( Brownsville, Texas, to be more precise) not comprehending much of what I read. Certainly the Texas public schools must take thier due credit here; we had no school library in the elementary grades, and the Brownsville Public Library as we now know it did not exist; in its stead we had the Texas Southmost City College Library, which at the time had no holdings for children's materials; its' focus, rather, was the education of the adult community. Yet in spite of these shortcomings, I managed to rank in the top 5% of my graduating class.

I fell in love with books, particularly the picture book, when as a new mom I began taking my first-born daughter to the Heights Branch of the Houston Public library. I discovered then the power of story, and the importance of passing on those cultural stories. As important, I discovered role that the public library can play in quenching a person's thirst for knowledge. My daughter long ago outgrew children's picture books, but I have continued with them, dedicating my life to the realm of children's literature and literacy for children and their families. If Latinos and other people of color are to succeed in this country, it must be because of free, public education and public institutions like public schools and libraries that must live up to the Democratic Promise of serving all segments of society.

For Latinos, the Civil Rights Struggle for the 21st Century is without a doubt the issue of power, education, language and identity. The Freedom to Read cannot be an American value that librarians hold in high regard, applicable only to a literate society that has as an option the luxury to choose for itself what it will and will not read. Free access must apply equally to those who for economic or other circumstances in life are unable to read in English. Respecting others' cultures must also mean respecting the right of a person to speak in their own mother tongue. Respecting the U.S. Constitution means respecting the right of free speech, the right of a person to read and speak in the language of their choice.

Desgraciadamente, the present state of affairs of politics in this country today places almost all the burden of proof on poor people, as if it is not enough that they suffer daily in the struggle to find and keep a job. Those who have been fortunate to have 'made it' have a greater responsibility to make this world a just and better place for all, not just for the select few who have been fortunate to have access to books, can read well, have an education, and a state-issued, state-sanctioned identity.

Y ColorinColorado.....Ni pienses que este cuento se ha termindado!