Major League Baseball’s place in the history of the battle for equality and civil rights is an embarrassment. Black ballplayers were banned from the major leagues for over 75 years until 1947 when Jackie Robinson broke the color barrier. Nothing can make that right, but people of conscience are demanding that Major League Baseball (MLB) move the 2011 All-Star Game from its currently scheduled site in Arizona to “Anywhere else!” in protest of the recent passage of the racist anti-immigrant SB1070.
This essay was written by one of five people arrested at the Move the Game protest in Minneapolis on August 11, 2010. The protest confronted a meeting of Major League Baseball (MLB) team owners and league Commissioner Bud Selig, demanding that they move the 2011 All Star game out of Arizona unless the anti-immigrant law SB1070 is repealed. The essay focuses on part of the arrestees’ jail experience, bringing to light this largely hidden site of large numbers of immigrant deportations.
Immigrant rights protesters demand MLB move the All-Star game out of Arizona
Minneapolis, MN – Chanting “Move the game! Move the game!”, 100 immigrants and supporters confronted a meeting of Major League Baseball (MLB) Commissioner Bud Selig and team owners at a ritzy Minneapolis hotel on August 11, 2010. The protest was part of the national movement demanding that Major League Baseball move the 2011 All Star game out of Arizona unless the state repeals its recently passed anti-immigrant law, SB1070. Losing the All Star game would be a big blow to Arizona, resulting in an estimated $60 million loss of revenue. Thirty percent of MLB players are Latino, and many have spoken out against SB1070.
Protest at State Capitol targets SB1070 and Minnesota’s copycat bill
Saint Paul, MN – On July 29, the day Arizona’s anti-immigrant law SB1070 took effect, 250 people rallied against it at the State Capitol in St. Paul, MN. This was one of many actions around the country on the national day of action. The rally aimed to keep pressure on for the full repeal of SB1070, and for the repeal of the federal 287g program that allows local police to carry out immigration laws. The rally was held at the state capitol to send a strong message to Minnesota legislators against Minnesota's SB1070 copycat bill, HF3830.
Minneapolis, MN – The immigrant rights movement scored a victory in Minnesota. Under pressure from a growing boycott and weekly protests, on July 14 the owner of nine local Jimmy John’s sandwich shops in Minneapolis and the western suburbs signed a public statement condemning Arizona’s anti-immigrant SB1070 law and calling for immigration reform.
Salt Lake City, UT – Taylorsville Park became the site of heated exchange between the right-wing Patrick Henry Caucus picnic and a wide coalition of progressive organizations protesting them, June 4. Gregory Lucero from the Revolutionary Students Union coordinated the protest along with the Autonomous Brown Berets of Salt Lake City. They targeted the Patrick Henry Caucus because it supports bringing the Arizona apartheid immigration bill SB1070 to Utah.
Minneapolis, MN – One June 14, about 30 immigrants and immigrant rights supporters picketed outside of Jimmy Johns sandwich shop at Block E in downtown Minneapolis. Jimmy Johns is one of the companies targeted in the national boycott against Arizona in response to SB1070, the racist anti-immigrant law Arizona passed in April. The protest demanded that Jimmy Johns founder James ‘Jimmy John’ Liautaud stop supporting anti-immigrant politicians in Arizona such as Joe Arpaio and John McCain.
_Undocumented students arrested in McCain’s office, held for deportation _
Tucson, AZ – Arizona has seen an explosion of Chicano and Mexicano led student resistance to racist laws and in defense of the right to a quality education. Nowhere is this more evident than in the city of Tucson, which is singled out for attack by racist elements of state government. The struggle has attracted attention across the nation. Since the state House and Senate adopted the anti-immigrant and anti-Latino law, SB1070, thousands of students have walked out of school in protest and there has been a wave of youth-led direct actions.
On Thursday, the Los Angeles City council passed a motion to officially boycott the State of Arizona. Arizona’s new racist law SB1070 targets Mexican, Chicano, and Native American people for harassment. From California, right across the country, many people are outraged. Under the new Arizona law, local police will have the power to harass and arrest people based on immigration status. This will increase the already existing racist harassment and arrest of Mexican, Chicano, and Native American people. Many police, including the police chief of Tucson, AZ, publicly oppose the law because of the burden it places on them and because it promotes racial profiling.
St. Paul, MN – On May 6, Rep. Steve Drazkowski (R-Wabasha) introduced a bill in the Minnesota House of Representatives that would bring Arizona's new racist anti-immigrant law SB 1070 to Minnesota. This comes on the heels of Minnesota Republican Gubernatorial candidate Tom Emmer saying he thinks Arizona's racist law is “wonderful”.