Boston City Councilors Felix Arroyo and Michael Ross filed a resolution this week, urging the City of Boston to review all business activities conducted with the state and municipalities of Arizona, and to the extent possible, cease those activities. The results came quickly -- it passed! The initiative was sparked by an uproar of Bostonians in response to Arizona Governor Jan Brewer's signing into law the anti-immigrant legislation, SB 1070.
Councilor Arroyo shared his thoughts:
"As a city, we have long rejected the idea that racial profiling is sound public safety policy. And we decided we don't want to invest in a state that believes otherwise."
From an "outraged" Councilor Ross:
"[I was] outraged when I heard about the Arizona law that requires anyone who looks 'reasonably suspicious' to be stopped and asked to prove that they're a legal resident of the United States. The last time people were stopped and asked for papers in this country, it was during the era of slavery."
Although this resolution is a non-binding measure, it's adoption certainly makes a powerful statement. Former UFE board member and Director of the AFSC's Project Voice, Gabriel Camacho, who attended the Cinco de Mayo City Council hearing, had this to say:
"Even if it's just a symbolic gesture, it sends a strong message that Massachusetts is the cradle of democracy in this country and sends a message to our fellow states that this can't be encouraged."
Boston Mayor Thomas Menino, also a supporter of the Council's resolution chimed in:
"It's a message saying America is a land of opportunity. Now there's one little state out there saying, 'We don't want that land of opportunity. We want to be isolationists.' To say you're not welcome in your state to work, that's wrong. This country was built on immigrants. My grandfather, so many other folks, came to America looking for that hope of a better future."
Boston's boycott of Arizona is the embodiment of democracy in action. And, it shows the continued and growing strength and solidarity of the human and civil rights movements, which gives great hope for the future of humane immigration policy.