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Arizona protests say no to SB1070

By Grace Kelley

Protest in Arizona on July 29, 2010

Phoenix, AZ – Over 500 activists and community members gathered here on the morning of July 29 to protest SB1070 on the day the law was going into effect. The law has lost some of its teeth due to pressure from the immigrant rights movement, which resulted in the long overdue federal injunction. On July 28, a judge struck down the part of the law that required all Arizonans to carry their proof of legal status constantly, as well as the part that legalized and mandated racial profiling, declaring these parts unconstitutional. However, most of the law remains intact, including the parts that criminalize day laborers and target families with mixed immigration status.

Chis Newman, an immigrant rights lawyer, rallied the activists July 28, in a meeting just before the protest saying, “This struggle did not begin with SB1070 and it will not end with it. SB1070 is a manifestation of the racist cancer that is affecting our Latino communities.” This means that the struggle for Chicanos and immigrants in this country is far from over.

Protesters rallied in front of the office of Sheriff Arpaio, one of the main figureheads of the racist, anti-immigrant movement. Not only does Arpaio wrench thousands of families apart with his excessive raids and deportations, he also commits human rights violations with his humiliating treatment of undocumented prisoners. An estimated 20 activists were arrested in the street, including members of Students for a Democratic Society (SDS), heroic local community organizers from Puente Arizona and others, as supporters chanted, “Arrest Arpaio” and “Down with 1070! We will not comply!”

Later, protesters blockaded the county jail, forcing sheriff department deputies to remain inside for over an hour. As a result of this blockade, Sheriff Arpaio was forced to cancel his raids and deportations for today. The July 29 demonstrations were a victory for the oppressed peoples of Phoenix and the rallies will continue across Arizona and the nation.

Grace Kelley is a member of University of Minnesota Students for a Democratic Society (SDS).

Protest in Arizona on July 29, 2010

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