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Meet Yesenia

5105360_1436312201.3797LGBTQ migrants in Phoenix are at the crossroads of racist, anti-migrant, trans- and homophobic attitudes and legislation.

Those in detention disproportionately face human rights abuses, yet Immigration and Customs Enforcement has demonstrated little ability or desire to create even minimally humane conditions within the detention system. Trans people are categorically misgendered, and detained LGBTQ individuals suffer epidemic levels of sexual, verbal, physical and psychological violence, often with no outside support or encouragement.

 

That’s why we’re supporting the Phoenix-based Arcoíris Liberation Team as they support detained LGBTQ community members by sending letters of encouragement and raising funds for bond payments.

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Fight for an Arpaio-free AZ

Sheriff Joe Arpaio has a long history of abusing power and terrorizing immigrant families in Maricopa County, home to Phoenix and the metro area. A Department of Justice report affirmed that Arpaio’s office is the worst purveyor of racial profiling investigators have ever seen: from the creation of Tent City, the most inhumane jail in the country, to his relentless persecution of the migrant community.

 

But even though he has been denounced by the people and sanctioned by the courts, the Obama administration continues to deport his victims. Just last week, Arpaio claimed to have sent 5,000 people to ICE for deportation in the last year and a half.

It’s time for Arpaio to resign and take his legacy of inhumane treatment and racial profiling with him. That’s why we’re partnering with Puente Arizona on a conference-wide direct action on Friday during Netroots Nation.

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Act of passive resistance: Checkpoint Refusal

 

This is the issue with border militarization. When we permit these kinds of racially-driven, governmental impositions into our lives, it disrespects and degrades all involved. For some in Arizona and towns within 100 miles of the border in many states, this kind of harassment is unending. People are being harassed and detained on the regular. In this video, we see a powerful act of passive, non-violent resistance against military presence in our every day lives.

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Migration immersion tour of the U.S. / Nogales, Sonora, Mexico border
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Why we’re doing #AZDispatch

Recently, I was sitting with a woman who opens up her home just outside of a detention center in Colorado to families visiting family members in immigration detention. When I asked her why she does this work, her response was, in essence, that there are galvanizing moments people have in their lives, and one of hers was prompted by a trip to the border. The stories of things she saw and people she spoke with there paint a picture illustrating how important it is to bear witness to injustice and how that can forever change the path one is on.

Last year in Detroit, we, the Netroots organizing staff, made a conscious decision to direct media attention toward uplifting our brothers and sisters fighting the water shutoffs and working on other economic issues in Detroit. It was a chance to use our unique position in the movement to shine a light not just on the issues facing Detroit residents, but also the inspiring and powerful activism that was happening there.

So, we encouraged the nearly 3,000 activists, organizers and professionals attending our annual convention to attend the Turn on the Water, DETROIT! Tax Wall Street! March & Rally that was held Friday, July 18, 2014. It was a historic example of the power of intersectional organizing. Members of other movements from across the progressive realm turned out to support who we all feel are our folks on the ground in Detroit—not corporations, not government, but the people.

I had a distinct opportunity to go to Arizona several months in advance of this year’s convention. While I was there I went on a trip to the border with an amazing group called Borderlinks that works to educate groups about the realities of communities on both sides of the U.S. / Mexico border. For me, it was a chance to see what I had no idea I’d see: The harsh realities of the border and how our policies literally and directly affect people’s lives. Other members of our staff and board had this same experience and came away with the same sentiment: Netroots Nation is an amplifier, and as part of that gig, we choose to amplify stories from Arizona that need to be heard.

I went back in March 2015 with several other staff members and a camera crew to capture some of these very stories. The products of that trip include the four videos featured here, as well as much of the other content we’ll be sharing between now and July.

There’s a responsibility in shining a light into dark places that is centered in making sure the light is shone not on ourselves, but on issues and people in the struggle. It’s our honor to uplift and introduce to the Netroots community the strong, dedicated, and hard working grassroots organizers in Arizona and the region who are fighting for progressive things. That’s what this site is all about.

This is the #AZDispatch.

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Video: #Not1More

Pulled over for a broken license-plate light, Tucson PD decide to call Border Patrol on two day laborers leaving the Southside Presbyterian area. Church and community members flood the street and peacefully surround BP vehicle to prevent arrest while wife and child watch. Border patrol gets violent with protesters using pepper spray and rubber bullets, injuring several people. Tucson community resists the inhumanity of SB 1070!

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#TransQueerMigrantLiberation

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Trans and queer migrants face sexual and physical abuse and inhumane conditions in migratory detention in Arizona. Outside of detention they face economic and social justice and a cycle of criminalization. That is why the AZ QUIP – Arizona Queer Undocumented Immigrant Project and the Arcoíris Liberation Team fight for immediate liberation and longterm social justice for queer and trans migrants in Arizona.


 

#AZDispatch is a Netroots Nation project created to expose some of the most unjust practices in our current immigration system and to elevate the stories and voices of local activists fighting back against those practices. Click here to sign up for our AZDispatch Action list.