By now every American should be familiar with Arizona's latest contributions to race relations: SB 1070, which allows police broad power to detain anyone suspected of being an illegal immigrant, as well as making the failure to carry immigration documents a crime; and HB 2281, which in essence bans ethnic studies in public schools. And by now every music fan should have heard about the myriad bands boycotting the state. Now Joey Burns of Calexico and David Slutes of The Sand Rubies have helped organize a group to take specific civic action towards undoing this mess.
Artists for Action describes itself as "a grassroots coalition of artists whose main mission is to effectuate change through voter registration and education by connecting artists with local organizations." Also known as VivaArizona.org, the organization and its accompanying web site offer support and resources for artists who want to engage their audiences to help in this cause, such as connecting with non-partisan voter registration. The group also offers assistance in coordinating rallies, speaking engagements and benefit performances to raise awareness.
Support for the organization ranges from Arizona Congressman Raúl Grijalva to Phoenix-based Jimmy Eat World. As Jim Adkins of "Lucky Denver Mint" fame explained: "What Arizona needs now is support... I have the utmost respect for musicians, artists, and small business owners who are killing themselves to make something on their own terms. I hope Artists for Action can be the bridge to help inform interested locals. And to help bring like-minded progressive voices back to Arizona."
Visit their web site www.vivaarizona.org for more information.