Leadership is nothing new for Raúl Grijalva (D-AZ), chairman of the Congressional Progressive Caucus and a booming voice on behalf of working families on every issue that comes before Congress. He helped lead the fight against the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, helped lead the fight against Wall Street predators and helped lead the fight for equitable health care.
He was also the first member of Congress– and, significantly, the only member from Arizona– to stand up and take a principled and passionate stand against SB 1070, the foundations of an apartheid police state. He first called on Arizona’s governor to veto the patently unconstitutional anti-immigrant bill. After she enthusiastically embraced it, he sent a letter to President Obama urging him to exercise his “authority to limit [federal] cooperation with Arizona officials in their enforcement of SB 1070.” Finally on April 29, he released the following statement:
“The governor and legislature are blind to what this bill will really do to citizens, law enforcement and the state economy. Tourists will not come to a state with discriminatory policies on the books. Businesses will not move here. Hispanic workers and taxpayers will leave. If state lawmakers don’t realize or don’t care how detrimental this will be, we need to make them understand somehow. We are calling on organizations not to schedule conventions or conferences in the state until it reverses this decision. This is a specifically targeted call for action, not a blanket rejection of the state economy. Conventions are a large source of visitors and revenue, and targeting them is the most effective way to make this point before it’s too late. Just as professional athletes refused to recognize Arizona until it recognized Martin Luther King Jr., we are calling on businesses and organizations not to bring their conventions to Arizona until it recognizes civil rights and the meaning of due process. We don’t want to sustain this effort any longer than necessary. It’s about sending a message.”
The response has been a barrage of death threats from neo-Nazi groups, both to the Congressman and to his staff. It became so bad that he was forced to temporarily close down his constituents services offices in Tucson and Yuma. (One man who threatened “to blow everyone’s head off,” has been arrested.
Blue America was, in great part, moved by Rep Grijalva’s courageous stand to join with a broad coalition of groups, assembled by our own John Amato.
If you would like to donate to this strong progressive and reward his continued fight against the bigots in Arizona, go to his Blue America page here.