Words on the Street
Stars will be out day and night for Salinas Library ‘Read-In.’
Thursday, March 31, 2005
To help save Salinas libraries, dozens of authors, actors and activists will be staging a 24-hour “Read-In” outside the Cesar Chavez Public Library, 615 Williams Rd., Salinas.
The 24-hour read-a-thon starts at 1pm on Saturday, April 2, and continues until the following day. Organizers invite audience members to bring tents, sleeping bags and favorite books—and a checkbook.
“We’re pushing hard to raise funds for the libraries,” says United Farmworkers Vice President Efren Barajas, one of the event organizers.
The event has attracted performers and community activists from all over the state, including actor Hector Elizondo; poets Gary Soto and Jose Montoya; United Farmworkers of America co-founder Dolores Huerta; activist and M*A*S*H star Mike Farrell; musician Dr. Loco; and writers Maxine Hong Kingston, Riane Eisler, James Houston, Jeanne Wakatsuki Houston, Jack Kornfield, Meredith Maran, and Wes “Scoop” Nisker, among others.
Latino elected officials from Salinas to Sacramento will also spend an hour reading their favorite books.
In addition to the read-a-thon there will also be live music, movies and children’s activities.
One of the musical acts will be the bilingual, bicultural reggae group Dubwize, an East Salinas band whose members grew up using the Cesar Chavez (then Santa Lucia) Library to learn about their musical heroes.
Peter Kwiek, a member of Salinas Action League, one of the groups co-sponsoring the event, says attendees will call on Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger to find a long-term solution to library cuts.
“We want an equitable solution to the crisis,” he says. “We live in one of California’s wealthiest counties and yet Salinas libraries are closing. The working people of Salinas feed the economies of the county and state, and the bellies of the nation and what we do we get in return? Closed libraries?”
The “Read-In” will culminate on Sunday with the annual Cesar Chavez Holiday march and cultural celebration.
“If Cesar Chavez was alive, he would be working to save the libraries,” Barajas says. “He was committed to educating our young people and giving back to the community. We want to honor him by doing this.”
Sponsors include United Farmworkers of America, AFL-CIO, Salinas Action League, CODEPINK: Women for Peace, La Union del Pueblo Entero (LUPE), Global Exchange, and Vote! The Citizen Project.
The “Read-in” starts April 2 at 1pm outside the Cesar Chavez Public Library, 615 Williams Rd., Salinas. For a complete schedule and list of authors and performers, visit www.salinasaction.org.