“My parents were migrant workers. They always believed in education. Because I was able to pursue an education-in one generation-my family has gone from the farm fields to today where I defend my community on a national stage. I strive for the day when every young person has access to the American Dream through education.” –Tony Diaz
Originally from Chicago, novelist Tony Diaz is the author of novel THE AZTEC LOVE GOD, which Ishmael Reed selected as the 1998 Nilon Award for Excellence in Minority Fiction. Reed called Diaz “Relentlessly brilliant.” Diaz is also included in major anthologies such as HECHO EN TEJAS: An Anthology of Texas Mexican Writers edited by Dagoberto Gilb, and LITERARY HOUSTON. His essays have also appeared in the Los Angeles Times, CNN.com, The Huffington Post, Mamiverse, & the Houston Chronicle. He has just completed THE PROTESTERS HANDBOOK a multimedia project ranging from text to performance.
Diaz began his graduate studies at Kansas State University in Manhattan, Kansas then moved to Houston to pursue a Master of Fine Arts degree in Creative Writing from the University of Houston's Creative Writing Program. He became the 3rd Latino and 1st Chicano to complete an MFA from that program.
Nuestra Palabra: Latino Writers Having Their Say (NP) was founded on April 22, 1998. NP began as a monthly reading series featuring nationally published authors and writers from the community. In 2001, the group founded the Nuestra Palabra Radio Show on 90.1 FM, KPFT, which Tony Diaz hosts with Librotraficante Lilo Liana Lopez and Librotraficante HighTechAztec Bryan Parras.
In 2002, Tony Diaz brought the Edward James Olmos Latino Book and Family Festival to Houston to create the most successful events for that franchise with over 15,000 people attending the first annual event at the George R. Brown Convention Center featuring Edward James Olmos and Cheech Marin with the release of his book CHICANO VISIONS: AMERICAN PAINTERS ON THE VERGE. This culminated in 2004 with the group’s 3rd annual event drawing 30,000 people and featuring a celebrity author for every major segment off the Latino demographic, including George Lopez with his book WHY YOU CRYIN’?, Univisión former anchors Giselle Blondete and Maria Antionetta Collins, and even Dora the Explorer.
This would create the base of writers, volunteers, sponsors, and national ties that would come together in 2012 to form the Librotraficante Movement.
About Tony Diaz
Tony Diaz, El Librotraficante, founded Nuestra Palabra: Latino Writers Having Their Say in 1998. He is the leader of the Librotraficantes-champions of Freedom of Speech, Intellectual Freedom, and Performance Protest. He holds a Master of Fine Arts in Creative Writing, a black belt in Tae Kwon Do, and wrote the award winning novel THE AZTEC LOVE GOD. He also hosts the Nuestra Palabra Radio Program on 90.1 FM KPFT Houston, Texas.
He was recently named the Director of Intercultural Initiatives at Lone Star College-NH and will be starting their Mexican American Studies Program.
Diaz has refined the tactics of the New Era activist/writer to make local, national and international news with several initiatives including: 1.) The Librotraficante Movement which defies the Far Right attack on Ethnic Studies & Freedom of Speech. 2.) The Harris County ban on piñatas. 3.) Diaz co-founded Protectors of the Dream which awards grants and free legal representation to youth of the Dream Act Movement. 4.) Diaz organized a Texas-wide coalition to stop Texas House Bill 1938 and Senate Bill 1128 which would have effectively dismantled Ethnic Studies and Women's Studies in Texas colleges. 5.) Most recently that same coalition delivered historic support for Mexican American Studies Texas-wide. This has led to the Texas Plan by which Tejas will become the nation's leader in cultivating a mutlicultural, multimedia education.
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Everyone tries to define Latinos through Multiculturalism. You need to understand us through Quantum Demographics. -Tony Diaz
"All art is breaking loose," Diaz said. "They knew we weren't going to overthrow the government through violence. We were going to overhaul the government by voting them out of office." -Tony Diaz
"Happily, there is pushback occurring against such anti-intellectualism. One of the most vibrant examples is a protest group called Librotraficante, or Book Trafficker. Organised by Tony Diaz, the group has been caravanning throughout the south-west holding readings, setting up book clubs, establishing "underground libraries," and dispensing donated copies of the books that have been removed from Arizona's public school curriculum." - The Guardian UK