Members of UNITE HERE Local 11 in Los Angeles will be among more than 550 members of Los Angeles unions, faith, and community groups, who will travel in a long caravan of 11 chartered buses bound for Phoenix on the day SB 1070 is scheduled to go into effect. Sponsored by the Los Angeles County Federation of Labor, AFL-CIO, the L.A. activists will meet with working Arizonans already hit hard by a struggling economy and now facing the state’s new immigration law.
L.A. unions will also kick off a new partnership with Arizona groups to increase Latino voter participation in the state.
"In 1994, California Gov. Pete Wilson’s attack on immigrants spurred Latinos to organize and fight for their rights alongside the rest of California’s working people, as never before in our state’s history," says Maria Elena Durazo, executive secretary-treasurer of the L.A. labor federation. "The renewal of that attack in the form of SB 1070 has made our members realize that to protect our rights as working people we must reach out beyond our state’s borders and find ways to build a real long-term partnership with our neighbors in Arizona."
Bus riders will gather at Dodger Stadium in Los Angeles at 4 a.m. on Thursday, July 29. They will eat breakfast on the California-Arizona border in Blythe before crossing the border. In Phoenix, they will participate in a community forum on SB 1070 with Phoenix Councilman Michael Nowakowski, Phoenix Chief of Police Jack Harris and others. They will march to the Arizona state Capitol and end their journey with a vigil there before returning to L.A. The delegation will return to Dodger Stadium by midnight.
Petra Falcon, director of Promise Arizona and one of the event’s Arizona hosts, says she helped arrange the visit because "we believe it is extraordinarily important to look at the passage of SB 1070 and other similar legislation in the context of the continued struggles of all working people in Arizona, and of our state and federal lawmakers’ failure to address those struggles."
The Phoenix events are also being hosted by CASE (Central Arizonans for a Sustainable Economy), a Phoenix non-profit concerned with raising the standards of people who work in Arizona’s low-wage service sector.
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