The SoundStrike Boycott of Arizona, which Pitbull has signed
To: Zach De La Rocha, Rage Against the Machine
CC: All other co-signers of the Sound Strike against Arizona
Re: The Sound Strike
Dear Mr. De La Rocha,
I am writing this letter in response to the musical boycott against Arizona that you have launched, to which a handful of mainstream acts have signed on to. I am addressing this letter to you, as the leader of this campaign, but also to all of the people and bands that have signed their names to this misguided attempt to strike down our law. As a college student and a citizen of Arizona, I am offended at your choice of words to describe our immigration bill, SB 1070. I respect that you might disagree with the policies of our state, but it is inappropriate to stretch reality to get others to join your boycott of Arizona.
On your website, thesoundstrike.net, you write that our bill “legalizes and sanctions racial profiling. Straight up.” While the bill does take a hard line stance against illegal immigration, the first bill in our nation’s history to do so, that accusation is just not true. To say that the bill sanctions racial profiling does not make any sense, because it, in fact, does the opposite. To quote a line from the bill, it says that “a law enforcement officer… may not consider race, color or national origin in implementing the requirements of this subsection.” In addition, Arizona’s governor, Jan Brewer, has begun working with representatives from the police departments to create a curriculum to teach officers when it is appropriate to act in response to this law. To sanction something means to openly approve it, which our bill does not do. It is this exaggeration that you use to try to prove your point that I take issue with, not the fact that you disagree with our policies.
Arizona is not out to sign racist bills into law. On April 30, a week after SB 1070 was signed into law, it was amended by HB 2162 to address concerns that 1070 was too ambiguous and might lead to racial profiling. Critics complained that the clause “[f]or any lawful contact made by a law enforcement official…” might lead to racial profiling. In order to provide clarity, the Arizona State Legislature responded by amending the controversial clause to read that “for any lawful stop, detention or arrest made by a law enforcement official … of this state in the enforcement of any other law…” This is just one example of changes to the bill that Arizona legislators have made in an effort to remove as much ambiguity as possible from this bill to prevent racial profiling.
Studies have shown that many of the drugs that enter our country come through the Arizona/Mexico border. In addition, in the year 2009 Phoenix was the kidnapping capital of the world. Not the United States, but the world. In addition, a September 2008 report on illegal immigration issued by the Maricopa County Attorney’s Office states that while “Arizona’s population is comprised of approximately 9% illegal immigrants… 21.8% percent of felonies sentenced in Maricopa County Superior Court are committed by illegal immigrants.” According to a May 2010 report by the Arizona Department of Corrections, 14.8% of the men and women in Arizona prisons convicted of a felony crime are in this country illegally. There are way too many illegal immigrants committing serious crimes and these are problems that most Arizonans feel needs to be addressed. This law has nothing to do with racism- it is a response to real events happening in our communities and backyards. I would support a federal law dealing with this issue, but at this point the Obama administration has yet to address our country’s immigration problems.
I am not upset that you disagree with this law. I can assure you that if this bill is abused and there is too much profiling going on, I will join others in lobbying for this bill to be rescinded. What I take offense at is your fabrication of the meaning of the law to make Arizonans out to be racist, horrible people in order to get others to refuse to play music in our state. As an Arizonan and supporter of SB 1070, I can tell you that I am not a racist and do not want to cause anyone of any race or ethnicity any undue trouble. But I can also tell you that at some point, our border needs to be secured and the citizens of Arizona need to be safe and happy. If you disagree with strict immigration laws, I welcome debate as to which laws would improve the safety and effectiveness of our country. Spreading false statements about our law in order to mislead people into joining your cause will not help to fix our immigration problem. If you truly feel that Arizona’s law is not in our country’s best interest, take the high road and engage our leadership with constructive criticism and suggestions. As Americans, Arizonans want nothing more than the best for our state and our country and would welcome your suggestions. A musical boycott will not help to spur change but will create divides in our country. If you truly care about our country and not your personal political agenda, I would encourage you to end your unnecessary boycott of Arizona because of a difference in political opinion and to stop spreading false statements as to the goals of Arizona citizens.