SACRAMENTO, Calif. - California's capital city last week joined a growing movement to boycott Arizona until its anti-immigrant law SB 1070 is repealed. The City Council here voted 6-1 June 15 to join the boycott. Two councilpeople were absent.
The council auditorium was full during the session. When Mayor Kevin Johnson asked boycott supporters to stand, fully 80 percent of the audience rose.
At the two meetings where the council discussed the resolution, residents of many races, religions and nationalities testified. Sacramento has been called the "most diverse city in the U.S."
Among the supporters was former Sacramento Police Chief Arturo Venegas Jr., who called the Arizona law the civil rights issue of today. "Will a boycott hurt Arizona?" Venegas asked the council. "Absolutely - that is the intent. However, the true intent is to repeal the racist law of Arizona."
Another supporter of the boycott was Marc Grossman, long-time spokesman for the United Farm Workers. He pointed out that UFW founder Cesar Chavez, whose family members were respected Arizona citizens for generations, would be a suspect under SB 1070, and required to show his papers. "As Cesar said in a somewhat different context, 'Boycott the hell out of them,'" Grossman concluded.
Representatives of the Sacramento Labor Council, the Japanese-American Citizens Council, the NAACP, the California Hispanic Chamber of Commerce, the Council on American-Islamic Relations, the Democratic Party and many other organizations added their voices to the call for boycott action.
The one opposing vote came from Councilman Robbie Waters, whose bid for another term had been defeated in the election the previous week.
Photo: Sacramentans line up at the City Council meeting to support the Arizona boycott. (PW/Gail Ryall)