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Fight SB 1070, artists urged

Come to Arizona, voice opposition, Grijalva tells them

  • Updated

A group of artists, backed by U.S. Rep. Raúl Grijalva, unveiled a new coalition to fight Arizona's new immigration law Thursday, offering an alternative for acts that might otherwise cancel performances in protest.

Grijalva, who called for a limited boycott to pressure the state to reconsider the law, said artists have historically been at the forefront of social change through words and images.

"We need those symbols, we need that sound and we need those images," he said, adding that the law has opened political and social divisions.

He said the coalition allows progressive performers to come here without compromising their opposition to the law.

David Slutes, a Tucson musician and an organizer of Artists for Action, said the group plans to call acts, such as Los Lobos, that canceled events in protest of the law to try to get them to reconsider. Groups that are going ahead with scheduled performances are being asked, at a minimum, to allow voter registration tables to be set up.

Yolanda Bejarano, a Phoenician and member of the band Snow Songs, said it's important to bring progressive voices to Arizona and get the word out that all Arizonans shouldn't necessarily be lumped in with the "small-minded Legislature" that passed SB 1070. "The law was passed by a partisan Legislature and signed into law by an unelected governor," she said.

Pima County Republican Party Chairman Bob Westerman said it was odd that Grijalva would single out liberal thinkers in the arts. "And if he's trying to backpedal, it's a very weak backpedal, because whatever art he brings in won't be comparable to the boycott he wanted against Arizona."

Some Tucson businesses oppose law / A9

Contact reporter Rhonda Bodfield at 573-4243 or

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