So, I haven't posted in a while. It's been a combination of factors, the largest of which was "nothing was really going on right now and I didn't feel like posting." I ended up hanging around waiting for something to say, and...well. Today, Arizona gave me something to say.
For those who haven't heard, today a bill called SB 1070 was passed in hte state of Arizona, a bill which makes it legal for police officers to harass anyone they might suspect of being in the United States unlawfully. Reactions to this have been surprisingly limited in the corners of the internet I hang out in- a lot of people wondering, "What's wrong with making it harder for illegal aliens to hang around?" Well, I'm glad you asked, because the fact of the matter is, the phrasing of the bill is so delightfully ambiguous that it basically grants the police in Arizona the right and ability to pull aside absolutely anybody who "looks foreign" and force them to prove they're here legally. If you're brown in Arizona- Latino, Middle Eastern, South Asian, even Native American- if the police think you "look suspicious," they can detain you and force you to provide the kind of proof most people don't just carry with them automatically (such as a birth certificate or passport) that they're a legal resident of this country.Show us your papers. Are your papers in order?
Even if I thought that was okay to do to actual undocumented persons- and I don't- there's no distinction made in this bill for the treatment of undocumented persons (I fucking despise
the term illegal aliens) and naturalized citizens of the United States, or people here on valid work or education visas, people here because they married a U.S citizen, or people who are visiting for a short time using a valid passport. If you look "foreign" and "suspicious," you're fair game for being detained by Arizona police for no reason at all.
That's right. The state of Arizona just made it legal to pull someone over for Driving While Brown.
Many people from The President
to Stephen Colbert
have voiced justified outrage. But I think that I'd like to see more outrage from people I know. And I think Governor Brewer- the conversative dimwit up for re-election who signed SB 1070 into being this morning- could stand to hear it, too.You can contact the governor via e-mail by going here.
You can also contact her, or at least her office, by phone using these numbers:
(602) 542-4331 - For Phoenix, Arizona residents
1-(800) 253-0883 - Toll-free for everyone in the country
You can send faxes to this number: (602) 542-1381 And you can do it for free from your computer using the services at FaxZero,
which is what I intend to do.
Actual physical letters can be sent to:
The Honorable Jan Brewer
Governor of Arizona
1700 West Washington
Phoenix, Arizona 85007
Let your voices be heard. Stand up for your civil rights, the civil rights of your fellow U.S citizens (even if they weren't born here), and for the diplomatic treatment of visitors to our country and residents of our country (regardless of how they got here), by letting Governor Brewer know that the eyes of this country are on her and on this monumentally unethical and unconstitutional bill she signed today. Be polite, but be firm. No insuts, no threats, just simple statements of the truth.
Protest in whatever meaningful ways you can. Personally, any travel plans I'd been making that would have taken me through Arizona are being changed. Not a cent of my tourism dollars is so much as going to be spent in an Arizona gas station while this stands.
And this summer, if this is still standing... I'm throwing whatever efforts I can into a fandom auction to raise funds to donate to an election campaign to get somebody else into Arizona's gubernatorial seat. (If huge swaths of Mormons in Utah can do it for Prop 8 in California, I don't see why we can't do it to protect the civil rights of Arizona residents, regardless of where we live.)
This is a big deal, people. We can't shrug it off or ignore it or just wave it away with an "Eh, it doesn't affect me." Yes, it does.
Don't forget that.