A project of the Center for Community Change

arpaio protest

Thousands Defend and Demand Their Rights in Arizona (Coverage Roundup)

arpaio-marchmayronOn Saturday, February 28th, one of FIRM’s lead organizers was on the ground in Phoenix, Arizona, marching alongside thousands of others, demanding justice for immigrants and an end to the authority of Sheriff Joe Arpaio. Here is his experience:

We were demanding that Sheriff Arpaio must go and with him the infamous 287(g) agreement, and a stop to the ICE raids.  But the march was more than that; it was the people’s way to demand justice and respect for all.

Led by The Natioanl Day Laborers Organizing Network (NDLON), ACORN: Arizona, Tonatierra, SOMOS America and other key organizations and supporters, Phoenix witnessed a peaceful, well-attended march which began at the Steele Indian School Park.

Over 8 thousand marchers walked 4 miles under in the hot sun; mothers with their small kids in strollers, fathers with their kids, elder folks, men and women, youth, latinos, whites, blacks, people of faith, and workers from different industries. All of these people turned out to show that human rights and immigrant rights are supported by the people of this country.   What a show of power it was!  On Saturday, our demands to stop the abuses against immigrants and their families were made in a powerful way.

At one point the police wanted to keep us on the sidewalk, away from the streets, but thanks to the hundreds of participants we won the streets!  Youth were asking as: “whose streets are these?”  And we all just took the streets over.  That’s how democracy really works; you push yourself all the way until you get what you want.  One more time, a peaceful, but massive demonstration can bring the power to change things.


On Saturday, the sense that immigrant communities were afraid of Sherriff Arpaio was totally shattered.  The notion that we can defend and demand our rights was affirmed.  The march showed that the people in Phoenix, Arizona and throughout the country are tired of the abuse and impunity of authorities.

We marched, and we will continue to march until we assert our rights in this country. So, Sherriff Arpaio, you should take notice, you have been warned.

Keep reading for a roundup of media coverage of the march.

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Thousands March Against Arpaio in Arizona

This past Saturday, thousands of people took to the streets of Phoenix, Arizona to march against the outrageous tactics of infamous Sheriff Joe Arpaio. Though a final count isn’t available, initial estimates say there were as many as 8,000 people present. Lead by the Natioanl Day Laborers Organizing Network (NDLON) the march turned out a larger crowd that anticipated, proving that people are outraged by the continued scapegoating and abuse of immigrants in this country. Organizations like Arizona Advocacy Network,  ACORN: Arizona, Tonatierra, SOMOS America and a handful of local churches and faith leaders showed up with supporters, adding to the great turnout.

Zach de la Rocha, former lead singer of Rage Against the Machine was there to support the protestors. In a speech given Friday night, De la Rocha said:

To witness what is happening in Arizona and remain neutral is to be implicated in human rights violations that are occurring right here on U.S. soil against migrants. History will not be kind to Joe Arpaio. He will be remembered with other infamous sheriffs like Bull Connor who subjugated and terrorized communities for shortsighted political gain. I hope everyone will join me in protesting Sheriff Joe.

Protestors carried signs that read “I AM HUMAN”, “REFORM NOT RAIDS” and “Joe Arpaio: TERRORIST”. The crowd Maricopa Coounty Supervisor Mary Rose Wilcox, Arizona Puente’s Salvador Reza, Derechos Humanos’ Isabel Garcia, Somos America’s Hector Yturralde, Respect/Respeto’s Lydia Guzman, and of course, De la Rocha.

Thousands of folks, from across the country gathered in Phoenix to demand justice, not only for immigrants, but for communities across the country who continue to suffer at the hands of our broken immigration system. Communities like Postville, Iowa; Bellingham, WA; New Bedford, MA – just to name a few. We are making sure that Sheriff Joe Arpaio is getting the attention he so desperately craves and we will continue to demand justice for immigrants in this country. The march in Phoenix is a great sign, but we’re only getting started.

To take action against Sheriff Joe, sign the petition at: www.sheriffjoemustgo.com

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