Arizona Activists Register Latinos To Vote
Folk singer Tomas Karmelo performs at a Promise Arizona leadership conference.
A grass-roots organization called Promise Arizona is preparing a new generation of voters to select leadership which reflects community values. The effort was born after Governor Jan Brewer signed Arizona SB 1070, the toughest anti-immigration law in the history of the nation. The Republican dominated state senate whose vote for SB 1070 went along party lines was elected after the majority of Arizona’s 670,000 eligible Latino voters failed to make it to the polls.
Picture above: Promise Arizona organizer Jeff Zetiño listens to leadership expert
Promise Arizona’s Faith, Hope, Vote campaign is reaching out to volunteers in the community who are willing to register eligible voters. The organization holds leadership training weekends in which young and old learn why voting is important and how to properly fill out voter registration forms. Last weekend, the anniversary of Martin Luther King’s “I Have a Dream Speech”, leadership events were held throughout the state.
Anti-immigrant Senator John McCain, who was forced to sped $21,000,000 to defend his seat in the Republican primary, is likely safe from a grass roots Latino surge, pundits insist. However, while Promise Arizona remains staunchly non-partisan, if they and other organizations are able to increase Latino voters by as little as 10% in some races, local politics will be affected.
That could be important for the job of Maricopa County Sheriff, Joe Arpaio, who comes up for re-election in 2012. Instead of attacking the increasing drug trade, Arpaio, a self professed enemy of immigrants, has focused his department's enforcement efforts on barrio raids and aggressive identification of undocumented workers during traffic stops.Continued on the next page