Support of the AZ Boycott

An Open Letter to Our Social Justice Allies:

We Must Continue to Stand Strong in Support of the AZ Boycott!

Recent Events Highlight the Importance of Unity and Perseverance

We call upon our friends and allies in the social justice and human rights advocacy communities to continue to stand strong in the boycott of Arizona, renew the call for unity and stand in solidarity with community groups and members directly affected by the repressive, anti-(im)migrant, and repressive legislation and hateful rhetoric raging through the state.

Last year, in response to SB 1070, HB 2281, and other dangerous proposed legislation, a coalition of community-based groups and individuals unified to call for a boycott of Arizona. Efforts were specifically focused on conferences, tourist venues and musicians, which brought national attention to the attacks on vulnerable communities and created support. In solidarity, allied musicians and artists united last year to form the Sound Strike, a collaborative effort to raise awareness about SB 1070 and the Arizona boycott.  To date, more than forty-five artists have joined the Arizona boycott, and 475 artists have spoken out in opposition to SB 1070.*  The Sound Strike has provided much needed support to grassroots organizations such as  Phoenix-based Puente, and Tucson-based Coalición de Derechos Humanos, Save Ethnic Studies, and U.N.I.D.O.S.

Derechos Humanos was recently invited to join other groups to table in the lobby at the Los Lobos show at the Rialto Theater on May 6th in Tucson.  Our commitment to support the economic strategies being used to demand an end to hate laws like SB1070, HB2281, and recent proposed legislation that attack our communities made this participation impossible. We considered it to be the crossing of the picket line that the boycott represents.  Shows like these create an alternative niche for performing acts to court favor with our local grassroots organizations but at the same time diffuse the effect that boycotts and event cancellations have on pushing the issue to end the right-wing attack. It is clear that the boycott continues to have power. The omnibus SB1611 bill was clearly defeated due to the influence of 60 CEOs who were motivated by the economic damage the hate legislation has done to the state. Those same laws are still being re-introduced and we still are in an ongoing vigorous struggle against hate in our communities.

The recent events at the Tucson Unified School District School Board meeting on Tuesday, May 3, 2011, where school board officials collaborated with the Tucson Police Department to attempt to silence Ethnic Studies supporters, make it clear to the Tucson community that there must be no wavering in our commitment to social justice, and that efforts to support and expand the Arizona boycott must be escalated. It is important that we stand united in an economic strategy toward change in Arizona, since our politicians have closed their eyes and ears to our communities on these issues.

We continue the call for the cancellation of conferences, tourist events, and other state-revenue generating events in Arizona.  We call for the continued boycott of musicians and artists who are not part of the Sound Strike, and encourage those groups that have not yet joined the boycott or the Sound Strike to stand up and join the struggle for justice.  Some musicians and artists expressed solidarity with Arizona communities last year, yet they have hesitated to join the unified efforts of the boycott, which denies our efforts the added reach of their fan base and management.  We call upon these artists to stand with us in true solidarity!

Sound Strike lays out clear requirements to groups and venues to be in compliance with the boycott. We demand a strict adherence to these requirements, and a dedicated respect to the line that the boycott represents. We call for all people of conscience to assist in bringing attention to the continued attacks on our communities in any form, including legislation, the denial of cultural education, and the criminalization of workers in our communities.

There are currently no Sound Strike endorsed concerts scheduled in any cities in Arizona.

*Click here for more information about the Sound Strike, and to see a complete list of allied artists and musicians.

Read the article on the Arizona Boycott and the Sound Strike in the Phoenix New Times here