heriff Joe Arpaio faces legal action, yet again, on charges that he has violated the rights of Latino citizens in Maricopa County, Arizona. Already, the county has paid out something like $50m in damages over the years. The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) and the Mexican American Legal Defense and Education Fund (MALDEF) are bringing suit in federal court on behalf of several plaintiffs.
Poor Joe has become something of a caricature of late. He is a symbol of mean-spiritedness, cruelty and racism. He proudly promotes his actions designed simply to humiliate prisoners. The US department of justice has accumulated a mountain of evidence against him, yet drags its legal feet while the racial profiling and arrests continue.
Less than a month ago, I, along with several other religious leaders, were treated to a tour of Arpaio's infamous "Tent City" jail. There, prisoners are kept in tents that reach 130F heat in the Arizona summer. The other religious leaders, including the Rev Geoffrey Black, president of the United Church of Christ and the Rev Dr William Schulz, president of the Unitarian Universalist Service Committee (and former president of Amnesty International), and I were appalled. The Maricopa sheriff's department has become a collection of thugs with badges.
Several thousand of us – Unitarian Universalists from across the country working mano en mano with local activists and religious leaders – held a vigil outside Tent City last month. It was profoundly moving to see a sea of thousands of people wearing their "Standing on the Side of Love" T-shirts, waving candles and singing in protest. They are taking that determination to work for justice and compassion across the country.
What is happening in Maricopa County must be seen to be believed. I am ashamed that this is happening in my country, that the people of Maricopa County continue to re-elect this tyrant, and that the legal system of my country does little more than scold like an inept parent.
Two years ago, I was arrested along with more than 20 fellow ministers from across the country and a number of local activists. We were protesting Arpaio's "sweeps" in defiance of the ruling of a federal judge. A year ago, I stood trial for that act of civil disobedience. During that trial, I saw deputies of the Arpaio's perjure themselves so blatantly (and artlessly) that the judge disregarded their testimony.
While I applaud the courage of MALDEF and the ACLU, and wish them every success, I am more convinced than ever that the fundamental issues before us are not legal. Arpaio continues to break the law with impunity not because there is a lack of conclusive evidence. Arpaio continues unchecked because some people are afraid and because decent people who know better are timid. This is what always occurs when tyrants rule.
What is truly frightening is that the fear and racism that feeds Arpaio is not limited to Maricopa County, or to Arizona. Arpaio is a hero to the extreme right. Arizona's law is being copied elsewhere.
No American my age can watch what is happening in Arizona and not have flashbacks to Alabama and Mississippi of the 1960s and law enforcement officials like the infamous "Bull" Connor. I would think no European can see sweeps and racial profiling and not recall images of the 1930s.
No one should be treated the way Arpaio treats people. No one.
I hope this lawsuit is successful. More importantly, I pray that people will turn away from fear and demagogues. I pray that we will see our common humanity and embrace our common future.
Washington, D.C. – Congressional Progressive Caucus (CPC) Co-Chairs Reps. Raúl M. Grijalva and Keith Ellison today released the following statement in solidarity with the demonstrators on Wall Street and around the country:
“We have been inspired by the growing grassroots movements on Wall Street and across the country. We share the anger and frustration of so many Americans who have seen the enormous toll that an unchecked Wall Street has taken on the overwhelming majority of Americans while benefitting the super wealthy. We join...
Adam Sarvana and Jennifer Gore 05 Oct 2011 Hits:137 Rep. Raul Grijalva (AZ-07)
Tucson, Ariz. – Rep. Raúl M. Grijalva has introduced the Border Infrastructure and Jobs Act of 2011, following listening sessions around Southern Arizona throughout the summer with business and community leaders on how best to improve the local, regional and national economy. A formal rollout press conference is being held Sept. 28 at 10:00 a.m. at Armory Park in Tucson.
Approximately 235,700 jobs in Arizona rely on trade with Mexico. The number is 252,800 in Michigan, 249,000 in Nebraska and 119,000 in Ohio – states that benefit directly from effective transportation...
Adam Sarvana 26 Sep 2011 Hits:113 Rep. Raul Grijalva (AZ-07)
Washington, D.C. – Congressional Progressive Caucus co-chairs Reps. Raúl M. Grijalva and Keith Ellison today released the following statement on President Obama’s job creation and deficit reduction plan:
“As co-chairs of the Congressional Progressive Caucus, we congratulate President Obama on many of his proposals to cut our deficits and balance our national budget. The president’s determination to reduce the large national debt that he inherited after years of costly wars, unchecked defense spending, corporate welfare and giveaways to the wealthy few is admirable. We stand...
Congressional Progressive Caucus 19 Sep 2011 Hits:128 Rep. Raul Grijalva (AZ-07)
Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer (R) announced Wednesday night that she has vetoed a controversial bill that would allow businesses to deny service to gays and lesbians if they feel it violates their religious rights.
Gay rights advocates have denounced the legislation, labeling it a form of legalized discrimination, and Arizona's two GOP senators and leading Republican candidates for governor urged Brewer to veto the bill. Even a few GOP state legislators who voted for the measure now say it is not the right thing to do.
Brewer said the bill "does not...
Aaron Blake | The Washington Post 26 Feb 2014 Hits:419 Arizona
Ratification of the Equal Rights Amendment (ERA) has received bipartisan support in the Arizona Legislature, but Arizona’s Congressional delegation appears to be lagging behind. Of Arizona’s 11 Senators and Representatives, only two– Southern Arizona Reps. Raul Grijalva (D- CD3) and Ron Barber (D- CD2)– have signed on to co-sponsor legislation to remove the ERA’s ratification deadline.
There are two Congressional bills to remove the ratification deadline. In the House, HJ Res 43 has 104 cosponsors (including Grijalva and Barber), and in the Senate, SJ Res 15 has 34 cosponsors.
ERA was introduced during...
Pamela Powers Hannley | Tucson Progressive 14 Feb 2014 Hits:402 Arizona
With each massacre of innocent citizens, the demand for action on gun control by the US Congress intensifies.
After the tragic Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting in December 2012, it appeared as if the national outrage over the massacre of 20 children and 6 school staff would finally push the Congress into action, but sadly, in April 2013, the most recent attempt at common sense gun control was thwarted by a Republican Party filibuster (which included both Arizona Senators Jeff Flake and John McCain.)
This week, a lone gunman opened fire in a Washington DC naval facility, killing...
Pamela Powers Hannley | Tucson Progressive 18 Sep 2013 Hits:665 Arizona
The series on poverty the Arizona Daily Star just finished running struck a chord with me, and I’d like to share what I think the federal government is doing right and wrong to address the issue.
Many people understand that job creation investments, when made wisely, are an effective way to reduce poverty. Congress should be making more of those investments. The era of austerity, when lawmakers experimented with cutting everything in sight no matter the human consequences, has to end. It hasn’t created jobs; it hasn’t led to a stronger...
Rep Raúl M. Grijalva | Arizona Daily Star 22 Aug 2013 Hits:654 Arizona
I'm juxtaposing the views of Chris Hedges, who I think is the clearest thinking journalist around,and a right-wing viral email I recently read, and the message is clear: Progressives, wake up. Or, in the words of Samuel Jackson, "wake the f*&*k up."
This is a lengthy post. Sorry for that. Ultimately, my point is that while progressives are hyper-focusing on issues like abortion rights, spending enormous amounts of energy to elect spineless politicians destined to disappoint them, and celebrating what they believe is the implosion of the Republican Party, we are...
Bob Lord | Blog for Arizona 07 Aug 2013 Hits:648 Arizona
You can see multiple downtown Tucson development from atop the Pennington Street Parking Garage. The Ronstadt Transit Center (foreground) is in the crosshairs for future development.
Business friendly? Tucson’s been there, done that, … and got the t-shirt at Goodwill. As former City Councilwoman Molly McKasson said, we put all of our eggs in the development basket and look where it got us.
Twenty percent of Tucsonans are living in poverty.
Thirty percent of Tucson children are living in poverty.
Fifty-two percent of Tucson children live in a one-parent household.
Seventy-one percent of Tucson Unified...
Pamela Powers Hannley | Tucson Progressive 05 Aug 2013 Hits:588 Arizona
Progressives in Congress and across the country are fighting the tide of right wing extremism on multiple fronts– from food stamps to cuts in Social Security to stalled immigration reform to anti-woman legislation to austerity for the middle class, while the wealthy live high on the hog.
Congressman Raul Grijalva has been at the forefront of the progressive movement in Congress. As another budget battle heats up in the House of Representatives, Progressive Democrats of America (PDA) want to thank our stalwarts like Grijalva, and at the same time want to...
Pamela Powers Hannley | Tucson Progressive 12 Jul 2013 Hits:561 Arizona
Arizona's Republican Gov. Jan Brewer is stepping up her pressure on the GOP-led legislature to expand Medicaid by declaring a moratorium on legislating until they give in.
Brewer vetoed five unrelated bills on Thursday, according to the Arizona Republic, and threatened to keep blocking legislation until Republicans expand Medicaid to cover thousands of Arizonans, which Obamacare permits at minimal cost to the state.
"I warned that I would not sign additional measures into law until we see resolution of the two most pressing issues facing us: adoption of a fiscal 2014 state...
Sahil Kapur | TPM 25 May 2013 Hits:1247 Arizona
Last week, an exchange between Jeff Flake, Janet Napolitano, and Chuck Schumer exemplified all that is wrong with the way in which immigration gets discussed within Washington and how far removed the beltway is from the daily reality and aspirations of people who are marching for immigrant rights this week.
When the topic of immigration enters the beltway, it gets reduced to an issue and divorced from the people whose lives hang in the balance. The dehumanizing view of migrants promoted by people like Sheriff Arpaio and Jan Brewer in Arizona...
Pablo Alvarado | Huffington Post 05 May 2013 Hits:686 Arizona
While Senate leaders, including Arizona's John McCain and Jeff Flake, hammered out immigration reform details last month, Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio reminded the nation how rogue law enforcement can still undercut legislative efforts for a pathway to citizenship.
In a demonstration of his notorious intimidation tactics, Arapio's deputies raided three Phoenix-area taco shops and arrested 11 undocumented immigrants on March 14th.
The anti-immigrant raid took place only days after an internal-affairs report found Arpaio's office had bungled hundreds of sex-crime cases. It wasn't an isolated event.
A herculean Respect Arizona recall movement...
Jeff Biggers | Huffington Post 23 Apr 2013 Hits:763 Arizona
Seventeen bills introduced in the Arizona legislature in 2013 can be tied to the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC), and every member of the Republican leadership in the state are current or recent ALEC members, according to a new report from the Center for Media and Democracy and its allies "ALEC in Arizona: The Voice Of Corporate Special Interests In The Halls Of Arizona's Legislature."
"ALEC is a secretive but powerful force in Arizona politics," said Lisa Graves, CMD's Executive Director. "This report exposes how corporations and Arizona legislators, have worked...
Nick Surgery | PRWatch 14 Apr 2013 Hits:488 Arizona
This week, a state civil rights board heard tales of increased racial profiling and police mistrust.
Police pulling people over for minor infractions and asking for documents, rape victims too afraid to call the police, children living in fear of having their parents taken away.
These were some of the stories shared by community members and immigrant advocates in Arizona, who testified before a state civil rights board this week on the enforcement of a state immigration law they say has increased racial profiling and police mistrust.
“SB 1070 is being used as...
Valeria Fernández } New America Media 30 Mar 2013 Hits:978 Arizona
Author and historian John Nichols warned a packed house of Tucson progressives and unionists that now is not the time for complacency. Now is the time to rise up and fight against the forces of greed who are trying to rob the American people of their rights and their earned benefits.
Nichols, writer for The Nation and frequent commentator on MSNBC, held the audience in wrapped attention for 90 minutes as he carefully explained what the current Washington DC budget and debt reduction talks...
Pamela Powers Hannley | Blog for Arizona 15 Mar 2013 Hits:846 Arizona
Thanks to publicity on this blog, social media, and e-mail blasts, progressives and other Democrats came to the Americans for Prosperity "public forum" on Medicaid expansion last night at The Loft Cinema. Too bad we couldn't get in.
Approximately 20 pro-healthcare reform advocates, plus six journalism students, and two bloggers were shut out of the tightly controlled forum. In addition, City Councilman Steve Kozachik was "uninvited" to participate in the panel. Although public announcements of the event in the Tucson Weekly, the Arizona Daily...
Pamela Powers Hannley | Blog For Arizona 08 Mar 2013 Hits:1935 Arizona
In recent months, a handful of Republican governors have softened their stances on Medicaid expansion under the Affordable Care Act. Showing a bit of financial savvy and (dare I say) compassion for the millions of poor Americans who would be covered by this, Arizona Governor Jan Brewer and others have decided to take the feds' funds and allow expanded healthcare coverage for their citizens who can't afford insurance.
Unfotrunately for the people who would benefit from Medicaid expansion, Big Brother Brothers don't like it when their...
Pamela Powers Hannley | Blog for Arizona 06 Mar 2013 Hits:720 Arizona
PHOENIX (AP) - A political group has filed paperwork with the Arizona Secretary of State's office to launch a recall campaign against Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio.
Respect Arizona will need to collect more than 350,000 valid signatures in the next 120 days to force a recall election.
The 80-year-old Arpaio was elected in November to his sixth consecutive term in office.
He filed paperwork last week indicating that he plans to run again in 2016.
In a statement Thursday, Arpaio say he believes the recall effort is over his stance...
My Fox Phoenix, AP 01 Feb 2013 Hits:753 Arizona
In tough times, even the most independent woman may find herself turning to traditional feminine tactics to secure her financial future-- like marrying a sugar daddy.
And what better sugar daddy could a woman find than a corporate person? As reported earlier by this blogger, seven New York City brides married and pledged allegiance to seven corporate masters... er... grooms on the steps of the New York Stock Exchange on Friday, January 19, the third anniversary of the Citizens United decision by the US Supreme Court.
Occupy Tucson activist and...
Pamela Powers Hannley | Blog for Arizona.com 20 Jan 2013 Hits:1107 Arizona
January 21, 2010 is a date that will go down in infamy. It is the date the US Supreme Court ruled in favor of Citizens United and declared that corporations are people, money equals speech, and campaign finance reform that limits the amount of money a corporation can donate to political campaigns is unconstitutional.
This decision paved the way for the obscene amounts of money that were spent in the 2010 and 2012 elections and emboldened groups like the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) to...
Pamela Powers Hannley | Blog for Arizona.com 20 Jan 2013 Hits:869 Arizona
Border Patrol agents have been caught on video destroying water jugs and removing clean blankets that No More Deaths humanitarian volunteers left in the Arizona desert for border crossers.
From No More Deaths...
Tucson, AZ- A hidden camera video released by Tucson-based humanitarian organization No More Deaths shows an agent of the U.S. Border Patrol removing clean blankets and food intended for migrants in distress.
Videos of Border Patrol behaving badly and more details after the jump.
The January 8 video captures a Border Patrol agent on a...
Pamela Powers Hannley | Blog for Arizona 18 Jan 2013 Hits:976 Arizona
Fun! Food! Adventure! Smiling young faces!
And killing machines?
The poster pictured here advertises the Aviation Open House at Cochise Community College back in October 2012.The purpose of the open house was to showcase the college's new aviation classrooms, flight simulators, and training facilities. Jobs and education for rural Arizona youth-- what could be more wholesome? Unfortunately, the open house also shined a spotlight on the college's cozy (and a bit creepy) relationship with merchant of death and destruction Northrup Grumman-- as well as the college's disdain for freedom of...
Pamela Powers Hannley | Blog for Arizona 18 Jan 2013 Hits:704 Arizona
The Tucson Chapter of Progressive Democrats of America (PDA) has been participating in PDA's national effort to educate Congress. In December, more than 80 letters were delivered to Congressional offices around the country-- including those of Congressman Raul Grijalva and Congressman Ron Barber.
Above, Jim Hannley, a member of the PDA Tucson Steering Committee, discusses the January 16 "prosperity not austerity" letter with Barber's staff. Below is the text of the letter, which also appears on our Facebook page.
If you agree with the points in this letter, please contact Barber's office...
PDA Tucson 17 Jan 2013 Hits:649 Arizona
Washington, D.C. – Rep. Raúl M. Grijalva today released the following statement on Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer’s recent decision to accept federal Medicaid expansion funds through the Affordable Care Act.…
A national initiative aimed at curbing gun violence was launched by former US. Rep. Gabrielle Giffords and her husband, Mark Kelly, on Tuesday -- the second anniversary of…
Joe Arpaio has thought of less friendly uses for firearms in his recent past. Back in November, the sheriff decided to arm his deputies with automatic weapons to…
While fumbling Tucson school officials and their extremist Arizona state counterparts await the fate of the outlawed Mexican American Studies in a federal court desegregation order, the prestigious Prescott…
What a difference a year makes -- especially for students in Tucson, Arizona, the "Little Rock" of education for our modern times.
While President Dwight Eisenhower overruled the "leadership of …
In 2010, Maricopa County Attorney Bill Montgomery was among those firmly in support of Arizona’s controversial anti-immigrant legislation SB 1070. Today, he belongs to a bipartisan coalition of…
The sun is shining slightly brighter in Arizona this week, as the state celebrates a week-long vacation from Governor Jan Brewer and her latest gaffes.
The self-described "Scorpion eater"…
Overshadowed by the ballot fallout in the recent elections in Arizona, a long-awaited and historic federal desegregation proposal was released earlier this month that could reinstate the Tucson Unified School…
Approximately 50 Tucson activists protested Wal-Mart's labor practices at a southside store on Black Friday.
The usual left-wing groups were represented-- Jobs with Justice, Occupy Tucson, Progressive Democrats of America…
PDA is organized around several core issues. These issues include:
Each team hosts a monthly conference call. Calls feature legislators, staffers and other policy experts. On these calls we determine PDA legislation to support as well as actions and future events.
For support in organizing within your state, contact:
State LeadershipDan O'Neal480-650-0746
Virginia Hauflaire 602-403-7576
Email us at: firstname.lastname@example.org
Cochise CountyEast Valley CD 05 and 06Northern ArizonaPhoenix CD 02, 03, 04 and 05Southern ArizonaTucsonVerde ValleyWest Valley