News and views from the award-winning author of the novels The Skinny Years, America Libre, House Divided and Pancho Land

Monday, April 26, 2010

A new Civil Rights Era?

Arizona is looking more and more like the Alabama of the 1960s Civil Rights era, a state where long-simmering tensions are surfacing to become the national symbol of a widespread cultural conflict. Arizona already has its own Sheriff Bull Connor in Joe Arpaio. Is Jan Brewer the next George Wallace?
The article below from El Diario in New York city echoes one of the tactics of that struggle ... a boycott.

Raul Ramos y Sanchez

Say ‘No’ to Arizona
| 2010-04-25 | El Diario NY

We call on those who believe in the U.S. Constitution to boycott the state of Arizona. The anti-immigrant bill signed yesterday in Arizona is a violation of our right to be free from police harassment based on the way we look.

SB 1070 requires the police to question people about their immigration status if they suspect they are in the U.S. illegally, without any objective basis for that suspicion. This gives free reign to racial profiling and the discriminatory actions that will ensue for being —or appearing to be— Latino.

The law is a violation of basic civil rights. It also wrongfully asserts that states can set their own immigration policy when that is the exclusive jurisdiction of the federal government.

The Arizona law is based on inflammatory depictions of the undocumented —repeated by Governor Jan Brewer when she signed the executive order— to justify such a repressive piece of legislation.

There are two ways to fight this law: one is in the courts and the other is through direct action. As for the first, lawyers will be filing lawsuits challenging the law's constitutionality. The latter, direct action, is a call to boycott the state of Arizona.
We express our outrage in the face of this abuse of power. We call for a boycott of all goods and services from Arizona and pledge to avoid tourism in the state as well. Let's send a signal of our disgust with an arrogant state government that asserts powers it does not have in order to persecute a minority population.

In the name of protecting the people, this law puts the public’s safety in jeopardy. The undocumented will be too afraid to report a crime for fear of being deported. Police departments across the country (who incidentally oppose this law) understand the need for the public to have trust in authorities so they can fulfill their mission.

Racial profiling is unacceptable. It is a serious mistake to think that you can tell an undocumented person by the way he or she looks. This law is a product of ignorance and an act of irresponsibility. Say "No" to Arizona.