This past Thursday, those passing through the intersection of Story and King Roads in San Jose were faced with a very visible example of resistance and solidarity. Between 75 and 100 people had joined together at that spot, armed with signs, chants and unflagging energy, to protest that day’s implementation of SB 1070, Arizona’s racist, anti-immigrant law. Though U.S. District Court Judge Susan Bolton instituted a temporary injunction on four of the most controversial provisions of the bill on Wednesday, legal challenges are expected, and vigilance is still necessary.
The intersection of Story and King is a busy one. Surrounded on all sides by shopping centers consisting of both chains and local businesses, it’s a spot guaranteed to ensure visibility due to the high volume of traffic passing through. And response from the community was exceedingly positive: many motorists honked, waved and cheered, and some even pulled over to talk to protesters.
The event was organized by MAIZ San Jose, a community partner of the San Jose Peace & Justice Center, and was attended by workers, students, and members of local activist groups, including De Anza MEChA and Californians for Justice. Protesters clustered on all four corners of the intersection, chanting and singing in Spanish and English. During green lights, smaller groups marched across the intersection, signs and banners visible.
The event began at 6pm, and by 7pm there appeared to be nearly 100 people present. Even at 8pm, two hours after the event had begun, attendance and energy levels remained high.
Similar protests took place throughout the Bay Area. In San Francisco, hundreds demonstrated at Mission and 24th Streets, and events also took place in downtown Oakland and in the Fruitvale district. A rally organized by the newly-formed Santa Cruz Immigrant Solidarity drew about 120 protesters, who marched from Depot Park to the clock tower in defiance of Santa Cruz’s restrictive law requiring permits for parades on public streets. Photos from the Santa Cruz event can be found here and here.
Action against SB 1070 was, of course, not limited to California. Arizona saw multiple protests and rallies statewide. A successful blockade of the Phoenix Jail interfered with Sheriff Joe Arpaio’s planned immigration raids, and more than 80 people were arrested, including Peter Morales, president of the Unitarian Universalist Church, and Salvador Reza, leader of the Puente Movement. (During Reza’s first appearance in court, the judge and prosecutor agreed that no probable cause had been found for his arrest.) See Alto Arizona and Arizona Indymedia for more details on the actions which took place, and are still taking place, in Arizona.
Demonstrations also occurred in various cities throughout the U.S., including New York City (where protesters temporarily closed down the Brooklyn Bridge), Los Angeles, Washington D.C., Chicago, and Charlotte, NC. See Colorlines and The Frame for powerful images of resistance from across the country.
The full set of photos from the rally in San Jose can be found here.
Stephanie Brown is a volunteer with the San Jose Peace and Justice Center.