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Nuestra Palabra Blog/Nuestra Palabra History
Come back every week for more of the history we've made together. We will feature NP alums who made their debuts with us and have gone on to huge accomplishments. You'll also hear from iconic Latino writers who shared the stage with writers from our community. And, of course, we'll feature NP Discoveries, new voices sharing their work for the first time. Viva Nuestra Palabra!
Give us a shout out. Suggest a topic. If you are an NP alum share you NP memories with us.
Nuestra Palabra:
Latino Writers Having Their Say
P.O. Box 41065
Houston, TX 77221

NP Blog

NP History Some Highlights

by Tony Diaz on 01/17/18

* Nuestra Palabra: Latino Writers Having Their Say founded April 1998 in the party hall of Chapultepec Restaurant in the Montrose neighborhood of Houston, Texas. 

* The Nuestra Palabra Radio Show begins broadcasting on 90.1 FM KPFT in March of 2001.

* NP organized the Latino Book and Family Festival 2002-2007 -the largest book fair in Houston and one of the largest in Texas, drawing up to 30,000 people to the GRB Convention Center. 

* NP has cultivated 14 Latinos who have earned Master's degrees or Master of Fine Arts in Writing. 

* 5 NP alums were the founders of the 2012 Librotraficante Caravan, which joined a national movement to defy Arizona's ban of Mexican American Studies.

* Several NP alums have gone on to great careers in writing:

- Russell Contreras is now a reporter for the Associated Press; 
- Alvaro Saar Rios is a professor and his plays have been produced nation-wide; 
- Poet Carolina Monsivais is completing her PhD and has published 2 collections of poetry; 
- Journalist and poet Icess Fernandez is a Professor of English at Lone Star College-King Wood;
Lupe Mendez co-founded the Librotraficante Caravan and is founder of Tintero Proejcts; 
- Poet Jasmine Mendez has her 2nd book coming out in March, and there are many others. 

Bilingual Poetry Renaissance in Houston 20 Groups Unite to Celebrate Poesia in Spanish & English

by Tony Diaz on 10/10/17

Bilingual Poetry Renaissance 
in Houston 

20 Groups Unite to Celebrate Poesia in Spanish & English

A Houston Poetry Fest Satellite Event.

HOUSTON, TX - October 10, 2017 - Now that the ban of Mexican American Studies has been overturned in Arizona, there is a Renaissance of Latino literature across the Southwest. In Houston, this means Nuestra Palabra: Latino Writers Having Their Say, founded in April of 1998, can turn its attention from smuggling books as Librotraficantes, to celebrating poetry in English and Spanish.

This month 20 groups unite to celebrate bilingual poetry in Spanish and English as part of the annual Houston Poetry Fest. Each organization involved contributes in some way, shape, or form to bilingual literature throughout the year. This ranges from informal meetings to discuss different works, to the weekly radio show Nuestra Palabra: Latino Writers Having Their Say on 90.1 FM KPFT, to the new PhD in Creative Writing in Spanish at the University of Houston. 

This is the first time each one of these groups comes together-but it won't be the last. Join us as the Houston Latino Literary Renaissance kicks into high gear. 

"This is our first major literary event since the overturning of the ban of Mexican American Studies in late-august," said Tony Diaz, El Librotraficante, founder of Nuestra Palabra. "Hurricane Harvey put a damper on  one of the most important civil rights cases of our era. It also curtailed Hispanic Heritage Month festivities. It's beautiful to see Houston come together to celebrate our literature. This truly is a Renaissance."

Who: 20 Organizations 
What: Celebration of Bilingual Poetry in Spanish and English 
Mujeres Malas Reveal & Pop-up Art Show.
When: Wednesday, October 18, 2017. 
6:00 p to 6:30 p: Featured bilingual poets readings in the "Cask of Amontillado."

6:30 pm: The Picture - All poets and prose writers, allies of Latino Lit are invited to stand in the 2017 Latino Lit Picture. Don't spend history wondering why you missed it. In the "Cask of Amontillado" first floor of Platypus Brewery.

7:00 pm - 8 pm More featured poets, and bilingual open mic, with Malas Mujeres reveal and Pop-Up Art Show. 2nd Floor of Platypus Brewery. 
Where: Platypus Brewing 1902 Washington Ave Suite E, Houston, TX 77007. Free.
Why: This Houston Poetry Fest satellite event celebrates Hispanic Heritage Month and the overturning of the ban of Mexican American Studies in Arizona. 

Hosts, Tony Diaz, El Librotraficante and Lupe Mendez.

Featured writers:
From Dallas:
Sylvana Avila Alonzo
From Houston:
Vanessa Torres
Miriam Damaris Maldonado
Marlon Lizama 
Jasminne Mendez
Majo Delgadillo
Natalia Trigo
Maria Palacios, THE FEMALE KING
Leslie Contreras Schwartz, FUEGO, and to be released NIGHTBLOOM & CENOTE
Mikaela Selley, Hispanic Collections and Oral 
History Archivist
Dr. Lorena Gauthereau, CLIR/DLF-Mellon Postdoctoral Fellow
Recovering the US Hispanic Literary Heritage and US Latina/o Digital Humanities 
Mujeres Malas Reveal & Pop-up Art Show.

Nuestra Palabra: Latino Writers Having Their Say
Tintero Projects
Houston Poetry Fest
Arte Público Press
Casa de las Americas
First Fridays
PhD Creative Writing Spanish. University of 
Houston Metropolitan Research Center, Houston 
Public Library 
Conversing Through Poetry
El Circulo Literario Cervantes-Shakespeare
Flamenco Poetry Society 
Recovering the US Hispanic Literary Heritage 
and US Latina/o Digital Humanities 
Casa Ramirez Folklife Gallery
Mujeres Malas
Multicultural Education and Counseling Through the Arts - MECA
Talento Bilingue de Houston - TBH

16 Year Old Hopes to Inspire Latino Youth to Enjoy Math Through Origami

by Tony Diaz on 12/12/16

Free Origami Workshop for Latino Youth

Who: Origami expert 16 year old Antonio Diaz, a Junior in high school.

What: Free origami workshop, focusing on Latino youth, but open to all 10 to 16 year olds. Space is limited to 15 spaces.

When: Saturday December 16, 2016, 2p-3p.

Where: Nuestra Palabra Arts and Books, Home of Pancho Clause. 333. S. Jensen, Houston, TX 77003, inside Talento Bilingue de Houston.

Why: This is a great chance for students to learn how to make unique Christmas gifts and also begin fostering an appreciation for Math.

Parents and guardians are encouraged to rsvp to secure a participant's space. Send the child's name and age, and the parent or guardian name and cell phone number to or call (713) 867-8943.

All participants must be accompanied by a parent or legal guardian.

Houston, TX. Monday, December 12, 2016.
Last year, 16 year old Antonio Diaz was a Sophomore taking a Calculus class, tutoring Seniors.

Of course, his school is known for Science and Math; however, it is rare for Sophomores to be helping older students, and it also turns out, it might be rare for Latino students to be focused on pure Math.

When Antonio attended one of his first Math Competitions, he  was once asked if he was really Latino. He answered, "Yes, "I'm Chicano and Chileno, why?" The other student responded, "There just aren't that many Latinos who come to this."

"I realized early in school that other students didn't love Math the way I do," Antonio added. "I get a lot out of figuring out complex Math. It's an intellectual adrenaline rush for me to figure out a complicated problem."

Antonio's father, writer and activist, Tony Diaz, El Librotraficante, said, "It was a bit of a heart-break finding out he loves numbers more than he loves words. But it's great to see him find his passion, to excel academically, and to want to inspire others."

Antonio traces his love of Math to when he was 6 years old and taught himself origami from a book his father bought for him. His father intended for them to learn the ancient Japanese art of folding paper together, but his father gave up.

"One day, I came home and found a swan made out of paper on the kitchen table," the elder Diaz added. "I asked Antonio if he had made it at school. He answered that, he had learned to make it from the  book I  gave him. It was amazing to watch him concentrate and follow the steps. He has a gift for it. I am proud that he wants to share it."

Antonio is set to graduate in May of 2018, and he hopes to attend MIT, Stanford, or  Cal Tech to study Bio-Engineering. He plans to pursue an advanced degree after that.

"When I found out my father was starting Nuestra Palabra Arts and Books, I thought this would be a great way to do complete community service hours for my school and also maybe inspire more Latinos to think of Math differently. Origami taught me how patterns and proportions function, which is a part of Math, but at the very least it's a great exercise in concentration, and you can also make some gifts that family members will love."

The class is focused on Latinos because the instructor is Chicano/Chileno, the book store carries Latino books and art, and it's held at the Hispanic Community Center-Talento Bilinge de Houston.

However, this is open to everyone. This is a class on diversity because a Chicano/Chileno youth has a passion for a Japanese art form, and he also speaks English, Spanish, and Turkish.

Space is limited to 15 spots for youth from 10 to 16 years of age.

Parents and guardians are encouraged to rsvp to secure a participant's space. Send the child's name and age, and the parent or guardian's name and cell phone number to or call (713) 867-8943.

All participants must be accompanied by a parent or legal guardian.

Click here for NP Arts And Books Christmas Schedule.

This is a shortened link to this post:

You Defeated a Bad Textbook. Now Unite to Create a Great One: The Mexican American Studies Tool Kit

by Tony Diaz on 11/21/16

Thanks to your support Democrats & Republicans on the Texas State Board of Education voted unanimously to reject the racist textbook submitted for possible inclusion in Texas schools. They also voted to re-open Proclamation 2018, which calls for culturally relevant textbooks. Now, we unite once again to oversee the creation of a great book that will make our community proud and help school districts inspire our youth with their culture & build bridges to those who want to know more about us.

You Defeated a Bad Textbook. Here Comes a Great One.

When we first fought for Proclamation 2018, by which the Texas State Board of Education invited the submission of textbooks for Mexican American Studies, we counted on large, mainstream publishers to dive in as they do for other subjects.  However, they were not interested. Instead, a former Texas State Board of Education member used her experience and knowledge of the system to submit what turned out to be the terrible textbook all of America has heard about and you helped us defeat.

We've learned from her mistakes. And this time, we are taking matters into own hands.

I'm happy to announce the launching of Nuestra Palabra Books (NP Books). This Indiegogo campaign is to raise the $30,000 necessary to write, edit, submit for Proclamation 2018, and publish the textbook: The Mexican American Studies Tool Kit (The MAS Took Kit) to ensure that at least one great MAS textbook is considered for Texas class rooms.

NP Books will also be a resource to help independent publishers, university publishers, and yes, even large mainstream publishers to submit texts. Ideally, there might be up to 5 textbooks for review this time around.


Leading Scholars & Writers Unite for the MAS TOOL KIT.

Our textbook will include the work and insights of the leading scholars in Mexican American Studies as well as voices from our community. The MAS TOOL Kit will be created by:

  • Leading scholars in Mexican American Studies, Ethnic Studies, History & Literature
  • Nationally published authors, essayists, and new voices
  • Voices from deep in our community
  • Activists
  • Workshops for teachers and administrators
  • Oral histories

Start to Finish

Your donation will help us write and edit a great Mexican American Studies textbook for use in high schools. This fund will also help us go through the complicated steps to submit a textbook for consideration, to revise the text based on feedback from the Texas State Board of Education, and also public hearing and testimony.

The intent to submit a textbook begins in January 2017. The final book will be voted on in July. Full funding of this Indiegogo Campaign will ensure that we not only submit at least one great book for consideration, but that at least 1,000 copies are printed.


Other Ways You Can Help

Please donate, and spread the word far and wide. Share our campaign via social media, mainstream media, and word of mouth.


About Tony Diaz, El Librotraficante, Director Nuestra Palabra: Latino Writers Having Their Say

  • Founder of Nuestra Palabra: Latino Writers Having Their Say, which has promoted Latino Literature and literacy since 1998.
  • Organized the 2002 - 2007 Houston Latino Book and Family Festivals, largest book fairs in Texas.
  • Leader of the Librotraficante Movement, which, when Arizona banned Mexican American Studies in 2012, organized the Librotraficante Carvan to smuggle the banned books back into Tucson. Since then the group has fought for ethnic studies and intellectual freedom, especially in Texas.
  • The first Chicano to earn a Master of Fine Arst in Creative Writing from the University of Houston, Diaz is also award-winning novelist, essayist, and editor.
  • Diaz is  a professor of Mexican American Studies
  • Diaz hosts the NP Radio Show and is a panelist on "What's Your Point?" live 5:30 pm Thursdays on Fox 26 Houston.
To donate: Click here.

April 29, 2015 Tweet Sheet

by Tony Diaz on 04/29/15

April 29, 2015 Tweet Sheet





NP Blog Schedule. Come back for posts by:

Tuesday, June 3: Alvaro Saar Rios

Tuesday, June 10: Russell Contreras

Tuesday, June 17: NP Discovery.    First publication: Karina Quevedo

June 24: Carolina Monsivais

July 1: Lupe Mendez

July 8: Loida Casares

July 15: Ices Fernandez 

July 22: Xavier Garza

July 29: NP Discovery. Welcome a   new voice: Luis Ochoa

August 19: Zelene Pineda Suchilt

We're kicking off this point in our journey with this essay in the Huffington Post:

Nuestra Palabra: Latino Writers Having Their Say
Links:     Librotraficante        MASTexas