Above Photo: NAKASEC
Arizona news outlets estimated that the number of protesters who stood up against SB 1070 in Phoenix today reached into the thousands. Multiple outlets are reporting that the vast majority of protesters were high school students from all over the state of Arizona who walked out of school for the second day in a row to protest the bill.
Arizona radio station KTAR 92.3 said that today’s protests were full of high school students from California and all over Arizona, estimating that 80 to 90 percent of the protesters were young people.
[Luis]Soto said it’s possible that he and other students could be suspended for ditching school to take part in the protest, but it’s a risk they’re willing to take. Soto said his parents were behind him 100 percent in his decision to organize the peaceful protest.
Students from Metro Tech High School, Trevor Browne High School, Maryvale High School and Cesar Chavez High School, all in Phoenix, were at the protests. In Tucson, students from Pueblo High School and Rincon High school walked out of school, risking school discipline and arrest.
When Arizona Governor Jan Brewer signed SB 1070 into law, many protesters were visibly broken hearted and emotional. The news has galvanized the immigrant community to continue fighting. “This is going to result in a massive resistance by the youth,” said Isabel Garcia, the co-chair of the Coalición de Derechos Humanos who was at the Tucson protests today. “The youth are fearless, the youth have a political analysis that few adults have. We urge churches, unions and mainstream organizations to pay attention.”
The state law requires police officers to ask for proof of legal residence from every person they detain and arrest. The bill also empowers officers to detain anyone they have “reasonable suspicion” to believe is undocumented. Both the ACLU and the Mexican American Legal Defense and Education Fund, known as MALDEF are filing legal challenges to SB 1070, charging that it is discriminatory and unconstitutional.
Activists and protesters in Arizona, meanwhile, are readying for a rally on Sunday and have vowed to escalate their tactics. The Border Action Network is calling on people who oppose SB 1070 and support just immigration reform to meet at the state capitol building in Phoenix this Sunday, April 25 at 12 noon.
Arizona Rep. Raul Grijalva called for a boycott of his home state, and other protesters have begun to coalesce around similar demands. “We are going to target conventions, a set of businesses, and the state,” Alfredo Gutierrez, a former state senator and blogger for La Frontera told a local radio station today. “Our goal will be to create economic consequences to the state.”
The fight for comprehensive immigration reform is picking up steam, too. Massive protests are also planned for May 1all around the country. Reform Immigration for America has a map of local events taking place on May Day.
Check out coverage of the walkouts and protests by Pan Left Productions, including footage of the nine students who chained themselves to the state Capitol building earlier this week.