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 V.19 No.20 | May 20 - 26, 2010 

Feature

Who’s Boycotting Arizona?

Rudolfo Anaya, New Mexico’s most celebrated writer, gave the Alibi this statement: "The recent anti-immigrants Arizona law is an assault on our basic civil rights. It is most hideous because it targets people of color. It should be protested by everyone. If there ever was a time for civil disobedience, it is now."

Here is an incomplete list—incomplete due to the rate at which it’s growing—of groups that are taking a stand against Arizona’s new laws through a boycott or other displays of condemnation.

Cities

Oakland, Calif.’s city council decided early this month that it would have nothing to do with Arizona; it voted unanimously to ban the city government from sending employees to the Grand Canyon State on official business, prevent the city from signing new contracts with Arizona-based businesses and require city employees to review current contracts between itself and Arizona.

• San Francisco's mayor is set to approve a resolution boycotting businesses headquartered in Arizona. The resolution also requests that sports leagues refrain from holding tournaments and championship games in the city. In addition, city employees are discouraged from conducting official business in Arizona.

• The City Council in San Jose, Calif. scheduled a vote on June 8 to decide whether it will join several of its Californian peers in boycotting their neighbor. The boycott would restrict travel by government employees to Arizona as well as contracts with businesses headquartered in the state.

• Los Angeles joined many nearby cities in approving a boycott of Arizona this month, banning city government from doing business with companies in Arizona and preventing the government from entering into new agreements with companies from the state.

• By a 5-0 vote early this month, West Hollywood became the most glamorous city to approve an Arizona boycott. The resolution forbids government employees from traveling to the state on official business and lets the government impose other sanctions until the law is repealed.

• San Diego's City Council voted to condemn Arizona's new immigration law.

• Boulder, Colo.'s city manager announced that city employees would not be traveling to Arizona for any official business. The city is planning a vote on a more extensive boycott.

• The Hispanic Chamber of Commerce of Metro Denver announced that it is supporting a boycott of any entity in support of Arizona's immigration bill.

• The Austin, Texas City Council unanimously approved a resolution ending government travel to Arizona. It also requires the city manager to review current and future contracts with businesses based in Arizona, or businesses with significant investments in the state, and then present the council with plans to replace them.

• St. Paul, Minn. city employees will no longer travel to Arizona on official business, a result of a declaration by the ciy's mayor that bans city-funded travel to the state.

• The city council of Boston adopted a resolution calling for the city to end relations with Arizona-based businesses, making it one of the first east coast cities to legalize a boycott of the state. The resolution condemns the bill for giving city and state law enforcement officers the power to enforce laws that are supposed to be enforced by federal law enforcement, adding that the law allows Arizona's police officers to engage in profiling. The resolution states that Boston government must review all associations with Arizona and, “to the extent reasonable,” eliminate contracts with the state.

• The El Paso county commissioners passed a boycott resolution by a 3-2 vote limiting county relations with Arizona businesses. The resolution also asks residents of the county to do the same.

• Las Cruces Mayor Ken Miyagishima was preparing to introduce a resolution condemning Arizona's immigration bill but changed his mind after reading the replacement bill, which is supposed to alleviate concerns that the bill will enable racial profiling.

• Pressure to reverse the law is coming from inside the state of Arizona as well. The Tucson City Council voted to sue the state early this month, alleging that the new immigration law will harm the city's economy, which Tucson's mayor said is largely driven by Mexican tourism. The mayor also said that he hopes the resolution will exempt the city from boycotts affecting the state.

• Flagstaff also decided not to take Arizona's new immigration bill lying down; its City Council unanimously voted to take action against the state to prevent the new law from going into effect. The resolution calls the bill “an unfunded mandate ... to carry out federal immigration enforcement responsibilities,” and predicts that illegal immigrants or those with a family member in the United States illegally will not report crimes, therefore preventing the city's police from enforcing the law.

National Organizations

• The Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights, an organization which aims to promote rights for those in the United States, announced a boycott of Arizona, pledging to hold no conferences in the state as well as promising to pressure its 200 member organizations to do the same.

• The League of United Latin American Citizens said that a broad list of Latino organizations have banded together to coordinate a boycott of Arizona and support legal challenges to the state's new immigration law. A press release announcing the campaign, which the league has named “Unite Arizona,” states that the boycott will focus on companies who support politicians who voted for the immigration bill. In addition, none of the groups in the campaign will hold conventions in the state.

• The National Council of La Raza declared a boycott of Arizona, stating that it will not hold any events in Arizona and asking its members and affiliates to do the same. It also said it will “widely disseminate the adverse consequences of this legislation” and asked other American institutions to consider not doing business with Arizona or Arizona-based companies. An extensive list of organizations signed the statement as well; a full list can be found at nclr.org/section/boycott_intolerance_petition.

• The Society for Advancement of Chicanos and Native Americans in Science (SACNAS) announced that Phoenix was no longer being considered as a site for its 2012 conference. In a press release, it stated that the new law “virtually guarantees harassment of its conference attendees.” The convention would have brought 3,000 people to the state for four days.

• The Seattle-based Glass Art Society decided not to hold its 2011 convention in Tucson, Ariz., depriving the city of 2,500 potential visitors that would have stayed for three days.

• The International Communications Association, National Association of Black Accountants and National Urban League all canceled their planned 2012 conventions in Phoenix, according to the Arizona Republic.

• The American Educational Research Association voted at its annual meeting in Denver to stop holding meetings in Arizona while the new immigration law is still in effect.

• The historically black Alpha Phi Alpha fraternity moved its 104th annual convention, which was scheduled to take place in Phoenix from July 21 to 25, to Las Vegas, Nev., citing safety concerns for some of its members. The fraternity estimated that moving the convention would deprive the state of up to 10,000 visitors.

• The Republican National Committee passed over Phoenix and instead chose Tampa, Fla. as the location for its 2012 national convention. While officially this decision had nothing to do with Arizona's new immigration law, one can't help but speculate that Arizona missed out as Republicans try to avoid any setbacks and negative press as they prepare for this year's elections.

National Autonomous University of Mexico, the neatest looking school in the Western Hemisphere
National Autonomous University of Mexico, the neatest looking school in the Western Hemisphere

Schools

• Two Mexican universities, the National Autonomous University of Mexico and the Autonomous University of San Luis Potosí, canceled their exchange programs with the University of Arizona, according to the Arizona Republic. However, Arizona's other universities remain unaffected, and so far none of the other 29 Mexican universities with exchange agreements with UA have canceled their agreements.

Denver's public school employees are forbidden from taking district-sponsored trips to Arizona.

• In a unanimous vote, the San Diego Unified School District Board condemned Arizona's controversial immigration law.

• The Huffington Post reported that Arizona's universities have been hit by the backlash to Arizona's new immigration law. University of Arizona President Robert Shelton said that some students have told the university that they will be leaving to attend school elsewhere. In addition, Arizona State University revealed that several of its applicants have called to decline admission.

Sports Teams

 The girls basketball team at Highland Park High School in Illinois was set to travel to Arizona for a basketball tournament in December 2010 until the school's district decided to cancel the trip, saying that it could not sent its students to a place where their liberties might be compromised. While officially the school says that this decision was based purely on safety concerns, some are suspicious the decision is actually a political statement, pointing out that the district superintendent told a Chicago newspaper that the district could not justify sending students to a place not “aligned with our beliefs and values.”

• Arizona's National Basketball Association team, the Phoenix Suns, wore their alternate “Los Suns” jerseys on Cinco de Mayo to “honor our Latino community and the diversity of our league, the state of Arizona, and our nation,” according to the team's owner.

 
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