Earlier this week, we commented on our own Tayari Jones’ public boycott of Arizona. Now Rigoberto González, another writer on our faculty, has written in protest of SB1070 on the Poetry Foundation’s blog, Harriet. In particular, he is asking all of us in the NY area to join a public protest of this bill on May 1st. He writes,
Let us not kid ourselves about what Arizona has presented itself to be. Wasn’t it one of the last hold-outs to recognize Martin Luther King, Jr. Day? And didn’t the state cave in after the NFL refused to hold the Super Bowl in a state that disregarded this important civil rights commemoration? If black athletes and their allies felt uncomfortable playing football in such a hostile environment, try showing up to a reading, knowing that you’ve got nothing but Mexican all over your face and that the people from your homeland must carry documentation or risk detention and deportation. (Hey, Arizona, if you object to this depiction of you, then change your ways.)
But in the end, it’s not even those things that anger me the most: it’s that out of fear, undocumented people will no longer seek out the police to report crimes, making them more vulnerable than they already are. It’s that it’s that much easier to victimize a population that has been labeled criminal, unwanted, and worthless. (read full post here)
Both professors received their MFAs at Arizona, and both challenge the state to live up to something better. I looked on the web for some kind of statement from the Creative Writing program on the issue, and could not find one (will update if I’m proven wrong). However, I do know that students from Arizona schools are walking out, and the U. of Arizona does fear that the new policy will effect enrollment next year. The fact that our faculty is taking a strong stance on this just underlines the truth that writing can and should be political.