WALKING WHILE BLACK: L.O.V.E. Is the Answer

Hollywood FAME Award-winning Director and Producer A.J. Ali, and Oscar and Sundance winner Errol Webber have teamed up to create Walking While Black: L.O.V.E. Is the Answer, a documentary film that examines racial profiling in law enforcement. The film recounts painful stories of the past while offering solutions to curb future profiling incidents. It seeks to build a movement that will make a distinct difference in the areas of social justice and racial reconciliation.

“I think police departments need an intervention,” retired LAPD Sgt. Cheryl Dorsey said. “If you don’t admit that there’s a problem, then there’s nothing to fix and so there’s no harm in saying that we don’t always get it right as police officers.”

“It is a reminder of some of the things in law enforcement that we’re not proud of,” Santa Monica College Chief of Police Johnnie Adams said.

“The next step is we need churches and schools and non-profits and even law enforcement agencies to license this film and bring us to their town so we can go there and do the screening, do a ‘Q and A,’ hold workshops and just spend time with people and teach people how to love each other again,” Ali explained.

The word “love” in the title is also an acronym as explained by those involved with the film. “Lstands for learning about your community and its people, “O” means to open your heart, “V” stands for volunteering yourself and “E” stands for empowering.


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Ferguson, Missouri: Where The Mere Act of Being Alive & Black Is a Crime

Police car light

In the city of Ferguson, nearly everyone is a wanted criminal.

That may seem like hyperbole, but it is a literal fact. In Ferguson — a city with a population of 21,000 — 16,000 people have outstanding arrest warrants, meaning that they are currently actively wanted by the police. That statistic should be truly shocking. Yet in the wake of the Department of Justice’s withering report on the city’s policing practices, it has gone almost entirely unmentioned. News reports and analysis have focused on the racism discovered in departmental emails, and the gangsterish financial “shakedown” methods deployed against African Americans. In doing so, they have missed the full picture of Ferguson’s operation, which reveals a totalizing police regime beyond any of Kafka’s ghastliest nightmares.

The Department of Justice’s 102-page report is a rich source of damning facts about the Ferguson criminal justice system. But tucked halfway in and passed over quickly is a truly revelatory set of figures: the arrest warrant data for the Ferguson Municipal Court.

It turns out that nearly everyone in the city is wanted for something. Even internal police department communications found the number of arrest warrants to be “staggering”. By December of 2014, “over 16,000 people had outstanding arrest warrants that had been issued by the court.” The report makes clear that this refers to individual people, rather than cases, so people with many cases are not being counted multiple times. (Though clearly some of these cannot be Ferguson residents, since the number represents more than the entire adult population and Ferguson policing applies to visitors as well.) However, if we do look at the number of cases, the portrait is even starker. In 2013, 32,975 offenses had associated warrants, so that there were 1.5 offenses for every city resident.

That means that the city of Ferguson quite literally has more crimes than people.

To give some context as to how truly extreme this is, a comparison may be useful. In 2014, the Boston Municipal Court System, for a city of 645,000 people, issued about 2,300 criminal warrants. The Ferguson Municipal Court issued 9,000, for a population 1/30th the size of Boston’s.

This complete penetration of policing into everyday life establishes a world of unceasing terror and violence. When everyone is a criminal by default, police are handed an extraordinary amount of discretionary power. “Discretion” may sound like an innocuous or even positive policy, but its effect is to make every single person’s freedom dependent on the mercy of individual officers. There are no more laws, there are only police. The “rule of law,” by which people are supposed to be treated equally according to a consistent set of principles, becomes the “rule of personal whim.”

And this is precisely what occurs in Ferguson. As others have noted, the Ferguson courts appear to work as an orchestrated racket to extract money from the poor. The thousands upon thousands of warrants that are issued, according to the DOJ, are “not to protect public safety but rather to facilitate fine collection.” Residents are routinely charged with minor administrative infractions. Most of the arrest warrants stem from traffic violations, but nearly every conceivable human behavior is criminalized. An offense can be found anywhere, including citations for “Manner of Walking in Roadway,” “High Grass and Weeds,” and 14 kinds of parking violation. The dystopian absurdity reaches its apotheosis in the deliciously Orwellian transgression “failure to obey.” (Obey what? Simply to obey.) In fact, even if one does obey to the letter, solutions can be found. After Henry Davis was brutally beaten by four Ferguson officers, he found himself charged with “destruction of official property” for bleeding on their uniforms.

None of this is even to mention the blinding levels of racism, which remain the central fact of police interactions in Ferguson and nationwide. The overwhelming force of this violent and exploitative policing system is directed at the African American population. In 2013, 92 percent of Ferguson’s arrest warrants were issued against African Americans, and black Fergusonians were 68 percent less likely than others to have their court cases dismissed. The racism is so blatant and comprehensive that the DOJ concluded that “Ferguson law enforcement practices are directly shaped and perpetuated by racial bias.” Considering the qualified and colorless language typically deployed in government documents, this is an astonishingly forceful statement.

Ferguson’s racism has been central to the media coverage of the release of the DOJ report. But in a certain way, by focusing entirely on disparate racial impacts without examining the sheer scale of the brutal state juggernaut, one misses crucial facts. MSNBC listed as the DOJ’s number one “most shocking” finding the fact that “at least one municipal employee thought electing a black president was laughable.” But the existence of racist views in the department is not the most shocking fact, not by a country mile. Rather, endemic racism in policing comes standard. However, that racism occurs in the wider context of an ever-enlarging interlocking system of administrative bureaucracy and police violence.

The other pitfall in analyzing the Ferguson report is to see it as being about Ferguson. There are 19,492 municipal governments in America, and the chances that Ferguson happens to be the worst are extremely slim. In fact, there is strong evidence that in the world of better funded, more militarized, more technologically advanced police departments, Ferguson is simply a high-profile case study. While the Ferguson nightmare may dwarf the problems in cities like Boston, American policing is so out-of-control that Ferguson-style practices can occur on at least some level in almost every department.

It’s hard to believe, but the Ferguson police department’s massive deliberate racism only represents one of its problems. The DOJ report shows not just a racist criminal justice system, but one in which the very act of being alive has been made a crime, and in which nearly everybody is wanted by the law at every moment of every day.

Reprint: The Shocking Finding From the DOJ’s Ferguson Report That Nobody Has Noticed -By Nathan Robinson | Huffington Puff


This post was co-authored by Oren Nimni, a civil rights attorney in Boston and member of the National Lawyers Guild’s executive board.

The Other National Conversation? White Privilege -By Esther Armah | HuffPost

Esther Armah

Esther Armah

Historic. That was the reaction to President Obama’s recent remarks on Trayvon Martin. That stage, that podium, that office all registered this humanizing act as particularly important and necessary to the “national conversation on race.” The reaction to those words, which some regarded as too little, too late, and too weak while others offered applause, surprise, and gratitude, pushed the conversation on blackness to another place. It invited folks to re-imagine the day to day for millions of black men and to consider and explore their stories, their whole selves, their realities. Trayvon was a boy again, 17, with dreams, a family he loved, and child-hood friends. If he had become a symbol for injustice, named a predator by the Right, and deemed an icon on the left, the president made him human again. We needed that.

I want to imagine another historic moment. One in which a white male president, in response to the same case and the same verdict, surprised the press at their afternoon briefing and spoke openly about another cancer as equally crucial to the context of the Martin case and as necessary to understanding America’s history. I imagine him saying: “I could have committed a crime and still have become president. I could have been arrested for driving drunk and still become president. I could have taken my little brother out on an underage drinking spree, lost control of a car, hit something, kept driving, been arrested and convicted, had my license suspended and still have become president. George W. Bush did exactly those things and he held the office.” The point of these imaginings is to consider the proverbial elephant in the room: whiteness, privilege, maleness. Any national conversation on race must also focus on these things . Rarely is this issue given space to be considered, discussed, or explored.

Both in the courtroom and in the court of public opinion, the details of what happened on the night of February 26, 2012 in Sanford, Fla., got re-written. Trayvon was no longer a 17-year-old boy shot dead by the gun of a vigilante wannabe cop. No. Zimmerman was narrated as simply trying to protect himself and, to be sure, the jury of majority white women and their neighborhoods from a violent black predator. It’s an old narrative central to the history of whiteness in America. It is visceral, it invokes protection, patriarchy and an emotionality that speaks volumes across America. It calls into action a history of whiteness, a narrative to justify brutality towards blackness and to find comfort in that created context.

I want to imagine, still, a different kind of conversation: one that brings about the breaking down of white privilege — a conversation that exposes the ways white privilege allows for mediocrity to masquerade as excellence and to do so with impunity. Remember when Sarah Palin invoked Obama’s exceptionalism as elitism and her averageness as patriotic and quintessentially American? Senior editor and blogger for The Atlantic, Ta-Nehisi Coates, in his essay, “Fear of a Black President,” writes that “Racism is not merely a simplistic hatred. It is, more often, broad sympathy toward some and broader skepticism toward others. Black America ever lives under that skeptical eye.” Ta-Nehisi goes on to cite Daniel Gillion, a political scientist at the University of Pennsylvania who studies race and politics. Gillion examined the Public Papers of the Presidents, a compilation of nearly all public presidential utterances — proclamations, news-conference remarks, executive orders — and found that, in his first two years as president, Obama talked less about race than any other Democratic president since 1961. Of course, the two times Obama has spoken about race — his “A More Perfect Union” speech and the more recent remarks on Trayvon — he has made history. Indeed, I would argue he moved the discussion on race and the nation forward in unprecedented ways.

When, in contemporary times, has a white president spoken about white male privilege either in its past or present forms? When has one explained the ways whiteness offers particular advantages – advantages that help no matter the individual’s circumstances or situations? Never. Nor has one been expected to. The absence of white male privilege as a topic in the national discourse on race is as powerful as the dehumanization of black male bodies. Undoubtedly, the Left has also failed to fully grapple with white privilege. There are some exceptions such as Tim Wise. His seven books and 600-plus speeches on college campuses call out white privilege, explain its history, and offer examples of its practice. Wise is often described as an anti-racist educator. I consider him an educator about white privilege. That difference matters. Jennifer JLove Calderon is an anti-white privilege activist. Her co-edited volume (with scholar Marcella Runell-Hall), Love, Race, Liberation – Til the White Day Is Done, offers a way to teach, think about, explore, and challenge white privilege for educators and their students.

In the wake of the shootings at Sandy Hook Elementary and the bombings in Boston, white privilege has emerged as a topic of conversation in some mainstream platforms. MSNBC’s Melissa Harris Perry is one. Salon.com columnist David Sirota spoke about profiling white men on MSNBC’s “Up with Chris Hayes,” is another example. Reacting to revelations that Sandy Hook killer Adam Lanza had mental health issues, Hayes posited profiling those with mental health issues as a way the politics of the Sandy Hook tragedy might play out in the “do something, don’t do something” aftermath of the tragedy. Sirota responded: “Except there’s one thing, the issue will be the profile is white men. That’s a profile in America that is essentially not allowed to be profiled.” Sirota cited the 2009 report from the Department of Homeland Security, Rightwing Extremism: Current Economic and Political Climate Fueling Resurgence in Radicalization and Recruitment. That report came within the President’s first 100 days in office and was aimed at giving law enforcement what then Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano called “situational awareness.” The report cited the recession, the election of a black president and disgruntled veterans as fodder for growth in extreme groups. Oklahoma bomber, Timothy McVeigh had been a decorated Gulf War veteran before killing 168 people during the bombing of the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building in Oklahoma City in 1995. Napolitano’s report sparked widespread outrage from right wing media, veterans groups and Americans across the board. Republicans called for her to step down. Then House Minority Leader John Boehner said: “I just don’t understand how our government can look at the American people and say: ‘you’re all potential terrorist threats.'” The outcry prompted an apology by Napolitano.

Thousands of veterans are young, white males. Many suffer PTSD. They fit the profile for those who commit mass shootings. An article in Mother Jones, “A Guide to Mass Shootings,” broke down the numbers. Since 1982, there have been at least 62 mass shootings across the country, with the killings unfolding in 30 states from Massachusetts to Hawaii. Twenty-five of these mass shootings have occurred since 2006, and seven of them took place in 2012. Forty-four of the killers were white males. The average age of the killers was 35 and a majority suffered some kind of mental illness. Put differently, young, white, mentally disturbed men pose a national threat to moviegoers, faith followers, elementary school students, elected officials – the country. So, then, shouldn’t they be profiled, stopped, questioned, and frisked routinely in the name of protecting regular Americans? They may not have actually done anything, but they fit the profile. They could do something. No such outrageous suggestion has ever been made. Let’s be clear: Trayvon was not a burglar. He fit the profile, though, said so many. Indeed, many, including juror B37 in her interview with CNN’s Anderson Cooper, have offered this as justification for Zimmerman’s actions.

This, then, is the other part to any national conversation on race: a conversation about white privilege, about the presumed innocence afforded to whiteness regardless of action and outcome – an issue which has so far gone unremarked by any elected official. It is one that I believe the Left needs to grapple with and focus on more actively. The day a major white figure speaks to white privilege – its presence, power, when they make it personal – then we’ll be engaged in a full national conversation on race. How willing are we to engage in that conversation?

Reprint: The Other National Conversation? White Privilege -By Esther Armah | HuffPost

The Wrong Kind of Caucasian -By Sarah Kendzior | AJE

Alleged Boston bombers Tamerlan Tsarnaev, 26, left, and Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, 19.

Alleged Boston bombers Tamerlan Tsarnaev, 26, left, and Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, 19.

In 1901, a 28-year-old American named Leon Czolgosz assassinated US President William McKinley. Czolgosz was born in America, but he was of Polish descent. After McKinley died, the American media blamed Polish immigrants. They were outsiders, foreigners, with a suspicious religion – Catholicism – and strange last names.

At a time when Eastern European immigrants were treated as inferior, Polish-Americans feared they would be punished as a group for the terrible actions of an individual. “We feel the pain which this sad occurrence caused, not only in America, but throughout the whole world. All people are mourning, and it is caused by a maniac who is of our nationality,” a Polish-American newspaper wrote in an anguished editorial.

It is a sentiment reminiscent of what Muslims and Chechens are writing – or Instagramming  – today, after the revelation that Dzokhar and Tamerlan Tsarnaev, the suspects in the Boston Marathon bombings, are of Chechen descent. At this time, there is no evidence linking the Tsarnaev brothers to a broader movement in Chechnya, a war-torn federal republic in southern Russia. Neither of the brothers has ever lived there. The oldest, Tamerlan, was born in Russia and moved to the US when he was sixteen. The youngest, Dzokhar, was born in Kyrgyzstan, moved to the US when he was nine, and became a US citizen in 2012.

Despite the Tsarnaevs’ American upbringing, the media has presented their lives through a Chechen lens. Political strife in the North Caucasus, ignored by the press for years, has become the default rationale for a domestic crime.

“Did Boston carnage have its roots in Stalin’s ruthless displacement of Muslims from Chechnya decades ago?” asked The Daily News, a question echoed by the National Post, the Washington Post , and other publications that refuse to see the Tsarnaevs as anything but walking symbols of age-old conflicts. Blame Stalin, the pundits cry, echoing the argument made every time something bad happens in the former Soviet Union. Blame Stalin, because we can pronounce that name.

In one sense, this sentiment is not new. American Muslims have long had to deal with ignorance and prejudice in the aftermath of a terrorist attack. “Please don’t be Muslims or Arabs“, goes the refrain, as unnecessary demands for a public apology from Muslims emerge. This week made it clear that it is Muslims who are owed the apology. After wild speculation from CNN about a “dark-skinned suspect”, on Thursday the New York Post published a cover photo falsely suggesting a Moroccan-American high school track star, Salah Barhoun , was one of the bombers. “Jogging while Arab” has become the new ” driving while black “.

Later that Thursday, the FBI released photos of two young men wearing baseball caps – men who so resembled all-American frat boys that people joked they would be the target of “racial bro-filing“. The men were Caucasian, so the speculation turned away from foreign terror and toward the excuses routinely made for white men who kill: mental illness, anti-government grudges, frustrations at home. The men were white and Caucasian – until the next day, when they became the wrong kind of Caucasian, and suddenly they were not so “white” after all.

Excerpt, read more here

Related: Terrorism and Privilege: Understanding the Power of Whiteness |Tim Wise

U.N. Carries Out First Review of U.S. Human Rights Record| Washington Post

GENEVA — The United States on Friday disavowed torture and pledged to treat terror suspects humanely, but set aside calls to drop the death penalty, as the United Nations carried out its first review of Washington’s human rights record.

As part a groundbreaking commitment to improvement under the Obama administration, the U.S. joined the 47-nation Human Rights Council in 2009. And in doing so, submitted to more international scrutiny.

State Department legal adviser Harold Koh outlined nine key improvement areas Friday, encompassing about 174 of the 228 recommendations the community had urged on Washington in an initial report last November. Nations are held accountable for what they agree to improve.

He said the U.S. would agree to improvements in areas ranging from civil rights to national security to immigration, including intolerance of torture and the humane treatment of suspects at the Guantanamo Bay detention facility in Cuba.

But in some areas the U.S. stance was unchanged, particularly on the death penalty, which had led to a chorus of objections from many European nations.

Critics say the law is inhumane and unfairly applied. But Koh said capital punishment is permitted under international law.

“To those who desire as a matter of policy to end capital punishment in the United States — and I count myself among those — I note the decision made by the government of Illinois on March 9 to abolish that state’s death penalty,” Koh told the Geneva-based U.N. Human Rights Council.

Cuba, Iran and Venezuela complained the U.S. was brushing too many recommendations aside, while China and Russia said the U.S. was not going far enough on Guantanamo, and called for it to be shut down as President Barack Obama had promised.

Other nations urged the U.S. to reduce overcrowding in prisons, ratify international treaties on the rights of women and children, and take further steps to prevent racial profiling. Koh said Obama also would push to ratify additional measures under the Geneva Conventions and add protections for anyone it detains in an international armed conflict.

Civil society groups have praised the U.S. for involving itself in the review process, which all U.N. member states have to undergo every four years. Japan, France and Cameroon had led the writing of the report on the U.S.

However, Jamil Dakwar, director of the American Civil Liberties Union’s human rights program, said one of the biggest U.S. shortcomings is that it has still has not created an independent human rights monitoring commission as has been done in over 100 countries.

“While the Obama administration should be commended for its positive engagement in this process, in order to lead by example, this international engagement must be followed by concrete domestic actions to bring U.S. laws and policies in line with international human rights standards,” he said.

Reprint: U.S. Agrees to Improve Human Rights Record in First Assessment, But Death Penalty Remains –By Assoc Press | Washington Post

U.N. Carries Out First Review of U.S. Human Rights Record | WikiNews

The Heat is On in Arizona | SB 1070, HB 2281

Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer signs SB 1070 on April 23, 2010.

PHOENIX, AZ. — On April 23, 2010, Gov. Jan Brewer of Arizona signed the Support Our Law Enforcement and Safe Neighborhoods Act (aka Senate Bill 1070), the nation’s toughest bill on illegal immigration into law on Friday. Its aim is to identify, prosecute and deport illegal immigrants. The move unleashed immediate protests and reignited the divisive battle over immigration reform nationally.

Even before she signed the bill at an afternoon news conference here, President Obama strongly criticized it. Speaking at a naturalization ceremony for 24 active-duty service members in the Rose Garden, he called for a federal overhaul of immigration laws, which Congressional leaders signaled they were preparing to take up soon, to avoid “irresponsibility by others.” The Arizona law, he added, threatened “to undermine basic notions of fairness that we cherish as Americans, as well as the trust between police and our communities that is so crucial to keeping us safe.”

The law, which proponents and critics alike said was the broadest and strictest immigration measure in generations, would make the failure to carry immigration documents a crime and give the police broad power to detain anyone suspected of being in the country illegally. Opponents have called it an open invitation for harassment and discrimination against Hispanics regardless of their citizenship status.

Mexico’s Foreign Ministry said in a statement that it was worried about the rights of its citizens and relations with Arizona. It issued a travel alert on April 27, for Mexicans visiting, residing or studying in Arizona, recommending individuals “to act with prudence and respect local laws.” Cardinal Roger M. Mahony of Los Angeles said the authorities’ ability to demand documents was like “Nazism.”

As hundreds of demonstrators massed, mostly peacefully, at the capitol plaza and other cities across the U.S., the governor, speaking at a state building a few miles away, said the law “represents another tool for our state to use as we work to solve a crisis we did not create and the federal government has refused to fix.” While acknowledging opponents’ concerns ethnic and racial profiling, Gov. Brewer insisted that law is an indispensable tool for the police in a border state that is a leading magnet of illegal immigration. She said racial profiling would not be tolerated, adding, “We have to trust our law enforcement.”

Hispanics, in particular, who were not long ago courted by the Republican Party as a swing voting bloc, railed against the law as a recipe for racial and ethnic profiling. “Governor Brewer caved to the radical fringe,” a statement by the Mexican American Legal Defense and Educational Fund said, predicting that the law would create “a spiral of pervasive fear, community distrust, increased crime and costly litigation, with nationwide repercussions.”

Immigrants and advocates for the illegal marched Friday outside the State Capitol in Phoenix. Photo: Monica Almeida/NYT

While police demands of documents are common on subways, highways and in public places in some countries, Arizona is the first state to demand that immigrants meet federal requirements to carry identity documents legitimizing their presence on American soil.

The bill, sponsored by Russell Pearce, a state senator and a firebrand on immigration issues, has several provisions. It requires police officers, “when practicable,” to detain people they reasonably suspect are in the country without authorization and to verify their status with federal officials, unless doing so would hinder an investigation or emergency medical treatment. The bill makes it a state crime — a misdemeanor — to not carry immigration papers. According to the bill, “it is illegal to transport, move or conceal an alien if the person knows or recklessly disregards the fact that the alien has come to, has entered or remains in the Unites States in violation of the law.” In addition, it allows people to sue local government or agencies if they believe federal or state immigration law is not being enforced.

States across the country have proposed or enacted hundreds of bills addressing immigration since 2007, the last time a federal effort to reform immigration law collapsed. Last year, there were a record number of laws enacted (222) and resolutions (131) in 48 states, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.

The law, left unchallenged, will go into effect 90 days after the legislative session ends, around June 28, 2010.

Ethnic Studies Ban

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In addition to signing SB 1070, Gov. Brewer stirred up more controversy on May 12, when she signed HB 2281 into law that bans all ethnic studies classes merely hours after the United Nations condemned the measure. The Tucson Unified School District program offers specialized courses in African-American, Mexican-American and Native-American studies that focus on history and literature and include information about the influence of a particular ethnic group. State schools chief Tom Horne, a Republican running for state attorney general, claims that Arizona ethnic studies programs promote “ethnic chauvinism” and racial resentment toward whites while segregating students by race.  Opponents argue that this bill, like SB 1070, is an attempt to single out minorities and marginalize their enormous contributions to American history. The bill also ignores the obvious – that ethnic studies programs were instituted, at least in part, to deal with the lack of diverse studies in public schools. Some opponents of the bill claim it is superfluous, to say the least, because ethnic studies classes have always been optional.

The Backlash


Arizona is now feeling the backlash of its decision and based on the current political climate, the issue is not going away. Human Rights Watch issued a press release on April 30, calling on Arizona to reverse its decision on the grounds that it conflicts with, thus violates, the International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination, which the United States ratified in 1994. The ACLU, Amnesty International, National Council of La Raza, UniteArizona and other civil and human rights organizations have expressed similar objections to the law.

As many as 60,000 immigrants and their supporters joined a peaceful march through downtown Los Angeles to City Hall. Waving American flags, tooting horns and holding signs, they blasted the Arizona law. Rallies in more than 90 other cities drew thousands of people from New York to Phoenix. In Tuscon, students walked out of school on April 22 to express their objection to the law. In Washington, D.C., thousands cheered as 35 immigration rights advocates, including U.S. Rep. Luis Gutierrez (D-Ill.), were arrested in front of the White House after they disobeyed police orders by sitting on the sidewalk along Pennsylvania Avenue, calling on President Obama to move an immigration overhaul forward.

In the days leading up to Gov. Brewer’s decision, Representative Raúl M. Grijalva, a Democrat, called for a convention boycott of his state. And it looks as if his request will be granted.

May 5, Phoenix Suns managing partner Robert Sarver, with the unanimous support of his team, came out against Arizona’s SB 1070. As a form of protest, the Phoenix Suns wore “Los Suns” jerseys during  Game 2 of the Western Conference semifinals against San Antonio Spurs in Phoenix.

Phoenix Suns wore the "Los Suns" jersey during Game 2 of the Western Conference semifinals against San Antonio Spurs on May 5. Photo: Handout

Sarver, who was born and raised in Tucson, Arizona, issued a release yesterday. “However intended, the result of passing the law is that our basic principles of equal rights and protection under the law are being called into question,” Sarver said. “And Arizona’s already struggling economy will suffer even further setbacks at a time when the state can ill-afford them.” The Suns are the first state sports team to take a stance on SB 1070.

On May 11, Phoenix City Council discussed the potential economic impact that Senate Bill 1070 could have on convention and hotel business. A Phoenix official says so far at least one convention has canceled and 15 other contracts have stalled amidst the immigration debate. Arizona’s Hotel and Lodging Association has recorded 23 convention cancellations from this summer all the way to 2013. That could cost the state anywhere from $6 to $10 million.

The Austin City Council voted to cut business and travel ties with Arizona to protest the state’s new law targeting illegal immigrants on May 13. In a 13-1 vote, the Los Angeles City Council approved sanctions against Arizona on May 16. The boycott is expected to affect $8 million in contracts with Arizona. Some analysts estimate that Arizona could lose as much as $90 million dollars if the boycott picks up more momentum. Similar initiatives are underway in several states across America.

Mexican President Felipe Calderon told Reuters that the law “contains elements that are frankly discriminatory, terribly backward.” He says plans to address the issue with President Obama during his trip to the United States this week.


Primary Sources: