Arizona marches against hate


PHOENIX -- It may have been Arizona's biggest demonstration ever. The May 29 protest against SB1070 drew tens of thousands. SB 1070 is Arizona's newest racist law, allegedly aimed at undocumented immigrants, but which is sure to expose millions to racial profiling and intimidation by state and local police.

Organizers estimated the crowd at 150,000. Marchers filled all five lanes and the sidewalks of Washington Avenue as marchers arrived for a rally at the state Capitol, and an hour and a half later they were still arriving. Tens of thousands more avoided the five-mile walk in the Arizona heat and joined in at the Capitol. Many thousands "without papers" were part of the protest, carrying signs which read, "Undocumented - unafraid."

Protesters were male and female, young and old, black, brown and white. They were festive and spirited, but determined to fight back against Governor Jan Brewer and the ultra-right gang that runs the state legislature.

Thousands came from California, Texas, and every state in the union. Thousands more came from Tucson, Flagstaff, Prescott and other Arizona cities and towns. Most of the demonstrators, however, were residents of Phoenix and Maricopa County already burdened by years of racist harassment from Sheriff Joe Arpaio and County Attorney Andrew Thomas.

At the rally, one speaker after another denounced SB1070 and called on the Obama administration to intervene to protect human rights.

The program opened with a Native American ceremony with speakers pointing out that immigrants targeted by SB1070 are mostly indigenous people from Mexico and Central America and that it will subject all Mexican American and Native people to intimidation and racial profiling.

"Today we are demanding that Congress pass comprehensive immigration reform, not next week, not next month - do it now!" thundered AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka.

Labor leaders have written President Obama and Homeland Security Secretary Napolitano calling on the federal government to not collaborate with Arizona in implementing this law, he said, adding that the answer is a jobs bill that will put all Americans back to work at decent wages.

SEIU International Executive Vice President Elisio Medina denounced Arizona's right-wing politicians, including Senators Kyl, and McCain for backing the racist law, calling on them to, "Come back from the dark side" and noting that history will reward courage and not political expediency.

Also speaking were Phoenix Mayor Phil Gordon, United Farm Worker leader Dolores Huerta, Isabel Garcia from Tucson's Coalicion de Derechos Humanos, Phoenix's the Rev. Warren Stewart of the First Institutional Baptist Church, and many more public officials and community leaders.

Music was provided by Jenni Rivera and the Outer Nationals.

There were numerous calls to repeal the racist SB1070 as well as the recently passed law to outlaw ethnic studies in state schools. Speakers and signs called for defeating Governor Brewer and the racist legislators in November when Brewer and the entire legislature will be up for reelection.

The human rights organizations, which organized the rally, are now planning the next steps in the campaign against SB1070: massive voter registration and turn out the vote campaigns, coupled with keeping up the almost daily street protests and grass roots organizing.

Later the same day a rally in support of SB1070 attracted a much smaller crowd of supporters. TV coverage of that rally showed an older and almost entirely white gathering. As usual, most of the corporate media gave that relatively tiny gathering equal coverage.

Photo: Protesters take to the streets by the tens of thousands on May 1, 2010, including in Tucson, Ariz., pictured above. (PW)


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  • I feel really bad coming from minneapolis, Minnesota to hear that racism still exists. I am biracial and that makes me afraid to bring my black / white children to move to a hateful state like Arizona what are we going to do to fix this hate here on earth is it going back to slavery days? or thru the grace of god are we all going to become one. Just reading this truly brakes my heart cause I was tought to love, not hate, we need to prey for the people that have evil in them and just know judgment day is coming.

    Posted by rosenia williams, 12/11/2010 4:07pm (5 years ago)

  • Isn't it funny that the people who shout "Racist" are the ones who only consider race. Would these people be marching if the illegal immigrants were from Africa? Wake up people.

    Posted by Logical American, 06/19/2010 6:25pm (5 years ago)

  • Why have borders and passports if we are not going to enforce them? Who is paying for this? I think if people want them to stay, they should pay for it themselves. I think you should only be taxed if you want them to stay.The people who stay they should stay are racist because they are not thinking of the American Economy. They are just thinking of race and race alone. In 2009, 14.7 Billion, Yes Billion was dedicated to Title 1 funds for no child left behind which is primarily helping these children of illegal immigrants. In addition,we are spending Billions on healthcare, food, and special programs. Lets let the Europeans come over because they are out of work too. Unless we are "RACIST" we are going to see the end of the american economy over this. Either our country is lying to us about the economy ie the whole lets spend $50 Billion to save the economy because we are also spending that much on these individuals who are here illegally. They have a country. Let them go back.

    Posted by Logical American, 06/19/2010 6:22pm (5 years ago)

  • Interesting comparison: Cuba, North Korea, Saudi Arabia, Iran, Venezuela, China -- are all countries, rightly or wrongly, pilloried as undemocratic. So what does that say about democracy and immigration?? Are you suggesting the U.S. take the same policy as Saudi Arabia?

    Also the idea that you "get" a Social Security card, job, free health care, etc. is bullox. No one "gets" any of these things. As a matter of fact, "legal" immigrants are barred from "getting" Medicare, Medicaid, etc.

    Immigrants pay taxes -- sales, property, payroll, FICA, etc. -- even if they don't have "documents." They also work, start their own businesses and create wealth. So grow up Big Al and get over your prejudices! It's un American.

    Posted by Terrie, 06/03/2010 12:13pm (5 years ago)

  • The rally didn't work? Did it?

    Posted by drew, 06/02/2010 9:43pm (5 years ago)

  • Reply to the negative comments on this excellent article.

    1. Mexico has a lot of messed up laws and Pres. Calderon, the most right-wing president Mexico has since Porfirio Diaz got the boot in 1910, is no hero. However, this is no justification for the abusive behavior of our own government at all levels.

    2. The undocumented workers are keeping the Social Security Trust Fund afloat to the tune of several billion dollars because they pay into it but can not get benefits. Even more important, they are making billions and billions of dollars in profits for their US employers. They are excluded from many government programs. So your metaphor as the undocumented as burglars who have broken into your house does not work. I would welcome a burglar who would break into my house and leave me financially better off for the experience. Working to feed your family is not the same as stealing.

    Posted by , 06/02/2010 8:17pm (5 years ago)

  • I support these marchers. I want free medical too. And throw in a free education. It's like someone breaks into your house and you are forced to feed them, cloth them and put them up for the weekend. Then you need to take them to the doctor and pay the bill. What could be better. Try breaking into your neighbors home and telling them to feed you. Since people, like me support these marchers, we're not hypocrites. We welcome people breaking into our homes. We don't care if they kidnap people or bring in drugs, that's OK.

    This liberal thinking doesn't make any sense. But since when has it ever.

    Posted by Thos Weatherby, 06/02/2010 10:31am (5 years ago)

  • Dream Walkers, students for the DREAM act, 4 undocumented college age students went into the offices of joe arpaio and spoke with him for over an hour. they shared a piece of charcoal, expressing their common humanity with arpaio. arpaio made no concessions, though tV cameras were in the meeting the entire time...about 50 people accompanied the Dream Walkers in the elevator lobby and outside the Wells Fargo office building where Arpaio has an office on the 19th floor. Dream Walkers expressed the deep feelings they have experienced since coming to Arizona last week.

    Posted by libraryblogger, 06/01/2010 3:25pm (5 years ago)

  • Research the immigration laws of Mexico and other countries. The Arizonan law is by no means draconian when compared to them. The USA has a right to control who crosses its borders, uses its civil services, and works.

    Opponents of the USA enforcing its borders are dissembling. The Arizona law is not against legal immigrants, but against illegal immigrants - people who have broken the laws of the USA.

    By the way, I married a foreign national, went through the immigration process with her - obeying the laws - and she is now a American citizen.

    Posted by Gene, 06/01/2010 8:43am (5 years ago)

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