The law (SB 1070), which the New York Times describes as “the nation’s toughest bill on illegal immigration,” makes it a state crime to be in the U.S. illegally. Police in the border state will be required to ask people about their immigration status if officers suspect they are illegal immigrants. Gov. Jan Brewer signed the law April 23 and it goes into effect in late July.
De la Rocha criticized the bill, “that legalizes and sanctions racial profiling,” in an open letter posted Tuesday on The Sound Strike’s website.
“Fans of our music, our stories, our films and our words can be pulled over and harassed every day because they are brown or black, or for the way they speak, or for the music they listen to.
“People who are poor like some of us used to be could be forced to live in a constant state of fear while just doing what they can to find work and survive. This law opens the door for them to be shaken down, or even worse, detained and deported while just trying to travel home from school, from home to work, or when they just roll out with their friends.
“Some of us grew up dealing with racial profiling, but this law (SB 1070) takes it to a whole new low. If other states follow the direction of the Arizona government, we could be headed towards a pre-civil rights era reality. This unjust law was set into motion by the same Arizona government that refused to acknowledge Martin Luther King Jr. day as a national holiday.
“When Rosa Parks refused to give up her seat, they arrested her. As a result, people got together and said we are not going to ride the bus until they change the law. It was this courageous action that sparked the Montgomery bus boycott. What if we got together, signed a collective letter saying, ‘we're not going to ride the bus,’ saying we are not going to comply. We are not going to play in Arizona. We are going to boycott Arizona!”
Along with de la Rocha and the rest of Rage Against the Machine, the following group of artists have joined The Sound Strike’s boycott: Sonic Youth, Joe Satriani, Kanye West, Cypress Hill, Juanes, Conor Oberst, Los Tigres Del Norte, Café Tacvba, Calle 13, Serj Tankian, Ozomatli, Rise Against, Sabertooth Tiger, Massive Attack, One Day as a Lion, Street Sweeper Social Club, Spank Rock and Tenacious D. Filmmaker and activist Michael Moore has also added his name to the mix.
The Sound Strike’s website invites other artists to sign the strike against SB 1070. Fans can get involved by signing an online petition asking President Barack Obama to stop the law.
Click here for The Sound Strike’s website.