Demetria exudes calm and grace, drawing people in with her warm personality. She radiates happiness as she tells about her sustained and committed activism since we last saw her. Tuesdays and Saturdays she volunteers at the Los Jardines community garden, which, among other projects, helps to bring chemical-free food to the schools and works for environmental justice. She participates in a Banned Book Club that reads and discusses the books that have been banned in Arizona schools. Nothing like censorship to promote interest and motivate people to take charge of their own learning! Inspired by Tony Díaz who organized the Librotraficante caravan to bring Arizona’s banned books back into the state, the Albuquerque center at the Los Jardines Institute draws people together to read, discuss, and understand these Latino books deemed worthy of banning. (Arizona Superintendent of Education John Hupenthall implies that the books are similar to Mein Kampf in a video about the caravan on Democracy Now! http://www.occupynewmexico.org/home/el-libro-traficante-to-arizona/.) Reconfiguring the stereotype of the narcotraficante, or drug dealer, Díaz substitutes books for drugs, and helped to establish a chain of banned book reading sites across the southwest.
Demetria continues the spirit of the caravan by bringing news of her continued, lifelong commitment to activism and social justice to her numerous speaking venues. Read her poetry and fiction, and her blog for the National Catholic Reporter (http://ncronline.org/authors/demetria-martinez) for enjoyment, inspiration, and knowledge. Check out her webpage: http://www.demetriamartinez.com/. How lucky to have her as a friend!