Arizona’s SB 1070 Fuels a Movement of New Voters
Read the whole thing here. It’s long, but it has history, current events, and how-to information. You may even get a glimpse of the future.
Adriana (right) and other student volunteers look over maps of the Avondale neighborhoods they’re planning to work.
On a hot evening in June, a petite young woman with long, black hair briskly walks a decade-old Avondale neighborhood lined with stucco homes, cradling a clipboard.
It’s after dinnertime, but a stubborn summer sun stretches out the day, providing plenty of light as she approaches the doors. Some families are settling in for the night; the faint sounds of televisions emit from living rooms. Others are washing cars or doing yard work.
Adriana consults a map that pinpoints homes of targeted registered voters, then rings bell after bell, explaining she is a student volunteer sharing information about Democratic candidates running for election — Richard Carmona, who wants a seat in the U.S. Senate; Congressman Raul Grijalva, who is up for re-election; and Paul Penzone, who hopes to unseat Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio.
Most people are receptive to the Latina, who can deliver her message in fluent Spanish or English. One man asks how he can volunteer. One woman says she’s busy but asks for Adriana’s phone number so she can get more information the next day.
Others grumble disinterestedly and quickly shut their doors.
Adriana walks on through the streets of this working-class neighborhood, where political and racial demographics cross both party and color lines.
She is not alone. Adriana is a member of Team Awesome, a group with dozens of community organizers. She and other students, campaign volunteers, and political organizers working Arizona — street by street and door by door — have a goal beyond educating would-be voters about candidates. Or getting people to register to vote.
They desperately want to change Arizona’s anti-Latino landscape — one radical politician at a time.
And they’re doing it. Last year, they made history by bumping voter turnout nearly 400 percent in West and Central Phoenix and being part of the team that forced out Russell Pearce, the state Senate president behind Arizona’s anti-immigrant laws.
They already have proved their prowess in Phoenix, where they gained national attention for helping triple the citywide Latino voter turnout and increasing it nearly 500 percent in West Phoenix during the 2011 Phoenix City Council election.