She wrote: “This morning, I received news that my event at Cathedral High School here in El Paso (scheduled this coming Monday afternoon at 3 p.m.), where I was going to discuss issues of immigration and border security and racism with students, has been canceled. I understand that the person behind canceling the event is Chief Justice Richard Barajas, who thought that doing an event with a book that discusses these issues, with profanity, would be a public relations disaster for Cathedral High School and that parents would be in an uproar. Ironically, the event was scheduled on the same day that Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff is to be the keynote speaker at the Border Security Conference at UTEP here in town. As you know, THE CONFESSIONAL looks at the issues he will be speaking about from the teen perspective. That event has now been canceled and the discussion silenced.”
Coming only four weeks after the publication of this exceptional young adult novel, my response to Jessica: I’m surprised it took them so long.
The book is hard-hitting and more real than some adults may want to believe is possible among our nation’s “children.” And Jessica’s dis-invitation is over what? Supposedly because of the fact that characters in her book swear? Uh, did anybody notice Harry Potter in book seven is a minor drinking whiskey and making comparisons with its euphoric feelings throughout the book? But, I guess the issue of ethnic cleansing is just better masked therein so that is overlooked… Fortunately, we can hope, as with most censorship, cancelled invitations and bannings, this will encourage even more young adults to read her work and want to hear what she has to say on the issues reflected so humanly and humanely through the characters in her book. It’s just too bad these select “adults” won’t hear her out, and that they are in positions of power to silence her.
Read more from Jessica herself on her blog: J.L. Powers