The last time I was motivated and agitated enough to write diaries here was about Arizona politics, and it was in 2010, when SB1070 had recently been signed into law by our unelected (at that time) governor Jan Brewer, and the world went totally nuts.
The Monday after that law was signed, Arizona activist Randy Parraz decided to run for senate. We had a de facto presumed Democratic nominee, who was 100% MIA on the issue, and Randy was pissed. He's a fighter, and he couldn't stand it that this was happening to our state and our side's leading candidate to fight McCain was doing nothing. Randy lives in the Phoenix area and had been fighting Arpaio, getting into their faces and even getting himself arrested for "disturbing their peace" a few times, but never backing down. He's a long-time labor organizer and political activist, but not a politician. I became a hard-core Parrista.
We lost the election, got our asses totally kicked in the primary. The Latino vote did not turn out, even for Randy, it was just too late and he was not able to pull together a campaign in time to have a shot. But we fought like hell for it, and he helped us channel our anger and frustration and desire to do something. I wrote my last diary on it, called Now What? on the night after we lost the primary. I said then that Randy Parraz was fighting for Arizona before the campaign and he would go on fighting for Arizona, no matter what. And so would the Parristas and Randy's peeps. Now that a miracle has occurred and there is going to a focus (for some people here) on activism in Arizona and organizing for NN15, I would like to reintroduce Randy Parraz to you and ask that you give him a listen. These are some of the people who need your help in Arizona.
It's been four long, painful, difficult years. Randy founded a group called Citizens for A Better Arizona, and their first order of business was taking out Russell Pearce, AZ state senate president and Kris Kobach lapdog who pushed that vile law through for Brewer to sign. This recall was successful and a big win.
Randy has gone on to found other organizations and they took on trying to recall Sheriff Arpaio, which unfortunately did not succeed. Randy's group and other activists continue to be in their faces up there in Phoenix. Here's a couple of articles with write ups and video of actions from this January at Brewer's state of the state.
I wanted to embed the videos from YouTube, but when I did it played a really obnoxious ad and I don't want that! On the linked article page it plays without the ad (at least for me). This one shows Randy kicking some butt (metaphorically), along with a bunch of other great Arizona activists at work.
PHOENIX, AZ – Statewide members of Citizens for a Better Arizona (CBA), including a newly formed coalition from Tucson, met at the State Capitol in Arizona yesterday to ring in the new legislative session which was also marked by Governor Jan Brewer’s State of the State address.Jan Brewer's State of the State Speech Protested by Citizens for a Better Arizona (Video)
CBA is the group that successfully recalled the only Senate President in American History, and defeated Russell Pearce, the author of Arizona’s infamous “Papers Please” law SB1070, in the recall election.
Activists then marched to the executive tower, where Brewer was having a reception on the eighth floor. At first, officers from the Arizona Department of Public Safety blocked the group, but CBA organizer Randy Parraz got in their faces, and as a result, the coppers fell to the sides.This is why I love him! At first, officers from the Arizona Department of Public Safety blocked the group, but CBA organizer Randy Parraz got in their faces, and as a result, the coppers fell to the sides.
Forbidden from going to the eighth floor, the group went to the seventh, where they huddled, and sent a delegation of women up a floor in the elevator.
The DPS officers were ready to arrest them if they stepped out of the elevator, but activists instead tossed stuffed dolls into the governor's lobby, representing the children hurt by Brewer's policies, as they chanted, "Stop the hate."
No one was arrested, unless you count Elmo and his toy co-conspirators.
I have no idea right now what if any role Randy and CBA or his other groups will have in NN15. This all happened so fast and came totally out of the blue. But I have a strong feeling they will be involved! I certainly hope so and if no one has connected them yet you can be sure I will be doing so!
I still love Randy Parraz, he is a real democrat, a true-blue progressive, and a fighter like no one I have even known. I do not know him personally, I want to make that clear, I met him a few times at events during the campaign but he has no clue who I am at this point. I live in Tucson and their activism has been primarily in and focused on Phoenix so I've not been deeply involved in it like they are. I'm excited to learn there's a Tucson group of CBA, and I plan to seek them out and get back in touch.
I'm energized and happy we have this opportunity and I want Arizona to make the most of it. I know some of you don't want to help us and if you don't, then don't. This diary is for people who do. It's not detailed or well researched or full of links and stuff. I'm sorry. I hope to write more and better updates as time goes on. Thanks for reading.