Ten Years After Arizona’s SB1070, Leaders Rising

Yesterday, the DNC, in partnership with the Arizona Democratic Party, Mi Familia Vota, and Living United for Change in Arizona (LUCHA), hosted a virtual town hall with a group of elected officials and the community leaders that grew out of the dark SB1070 days and helped shift Arizona’s political landscape.

U.S. Representative Ruben Gallego, state Representative Raquel Terán, and community leaders Alejandra Gomez and Eduardo Sainz discussed the impact of Arizona’s anti-immigrant law on the Latino community, how they organized to create change in the state, and how they are now fighting to make Donald Trump a one-term president as he has made the same anti-immigrant hatred a centerpiece of his agenda.



Read some of their remarks below:

Democratic National Committee Chair Tom Perez 

“In SB1070 we saw simultaneously the worst of America and the best of America. We saw the worst of America in people who wanted to divide us, who wanted to use immigrants as scapegoats. And SB1070 was the first of many laws that followed in which Republicans tried to weaponize and divide in the issue of immigration.

“I got to see the best in Arizona, when we went out there. I spent a lot of time in Arizona on this case and the Joe Arpaio case, and what I saw were organizers, Latinos, who were coming together to say, ‘We will fight back. We will not allow you, Governor Brewer, we will not allow Republicans to impose a vision on America that is a vision that’s inconsistent with our ideals as Americans.’”

U.S. Representative Ruben Gallego (AZ-07)

“I wish SB1070 never happened. It hurt so many people. It brought out the worst elements of society, but the benefit of it is the fact that you just brought  this whole new level of activism that has not been seen, and it spread across the country. A lot of the activists that we trained in 2010 are now working in other states and working nationally on campaigns. It’s just great to see some of them running political campaigns, some of them running different shops for the presidential candidates, some of them working at the DNC – it’s just been amazing.” 

Arizona State Representative Raquel Terán (LD-30)

“There was a moment that we recognized we had to pick ourselves up, we had to dust ourselves off, and we had to organize. We were able to start a movement and say that we were not going to let any more of this type of hateful legislation move through our state legislature anymore. From that moment on, we began a movement of building stronger political power that now is Arizona.

“Even though we felt that moment of impotence because  the bill had passed, it was also the catalyst of getting us to build the power that we need to get us to this point. To get not only Arizona blue, but an Arizona that is fair, that is just, that is embracing of everyone.”

Mi Familia Vota Arizona State Director Eduardo Sainz

“[On the day Gov. Brewer signed SB1070] That was the day that I realized that not until we have elected officials that align with our values we would have the change that we need as a community. Since then, we have paved the way for civic participation, voter registration, with an emphasis in PEVL (Permanent Early Voting List), and ensuring that we are also investing in young people, in young organizers, to polish their skills and ensure that we are at the decision making process.”

Living United for Change in Arizona (LUCHA) Co-Executive Director Alejandra “Alex” Gomez

“We have offices across the state engaging voters, making sure that they know that they must participate in this election because their voice matters and because they will be the change our country needs to see. Because Arizona has been living a Trump moment since SB1070, because we still have SB1070. And now the country knows what it feels like. And so together, those voters are going to now help change the country because we’ve known what it’s like to live with these type of egregious policies.”