Move the All-Star Game from Arizona

July 13, 2010

NEW YORK--As many as 300 protesters turned out to Major League Baseball (MLB) Headquarters at 46th Street and Park Avenue on July 8 to persuade the MLB to move the 2011 All-Star Game from Arizona in the face of the state's passage of the anti-immigrant SB 1070.

Turnout was high, despite the draining humidity from the heat wave that recently hit the Northeast. The demonstration was sponsored by the New York Immigration Coalition, along with the recently formed Boycott Arizona-NYC Committee and several other groups. Members of Service Employees International Union Locals 1199 and 32BJ acted as marshals and provided security for the protestors.

Spanning the whole block and enclosed within metal barriers set by the police, the protestors held signs and chanted slogans such as "Support the players, move the game!" If it is held in Arizona as planned, the All-Star Game will bring the state an estimated $50-60 million.

"This misguided law in Arizona has been called many things: 'draconian,' 'punitive,' 'mean-spirited,' 'overreaching,' 'unconstitutional.' To all of these I can only add 'un-American,'" said Tim Foley, a speaker with Greater NYC For Change.

In light of the new laws that have been passed or proposed in Arizona--including SB 1070, the ban on the teaching of ethnic studies and a proposal to eliminate "birthright citizenship"--many would agree with Foley's words.

Jordan, a member of the Young Communist League of Baltimore, stated, "Being part Native American, I can't help but think that the people who owned the land less than 200 years ago will not be allowed to live there anymore."

The level of racism embedded in Arizona's laws has shocked and moved many to action. Ari, a member of the New York Civil Liberties Union, stated:

SB the most anti-immigrant, discriminatory law in decades. It is a scandal for the whole country...Sports has historically played an important role in moving governments to act, like when the NFL All-Star game was moved out of Arizona and during apartheid in South Africa.

In attendance were also about 15 anti-immigrant counter-protesters, who seemed to attract the bulk of media attention. Daryle, a member of the One People's Project, an organization that monitors right-wing groups, mentioned that "most pro-1070 counter-protests are mobilized by white supremacist groups."

But in New York City, a city of immigrants, the counter-protesters were the minority. "In Baltimore, there are usually way more of them, so to be here feels good," pointed out Jordan.

Small successful protests like this one can help inspire the movement for bigger and more militant demonstrations in the future. As Foley stated during his speech:

We believe in an America that's the land of opportunity, not of "attrition through enforcement." We believe in an America that says to children in Mexico and the Dominican Republic, in Japan and Venezuela, in Korea and Canada, "You can make your dreams come true," not "Show me your papers, please."

Several organizations at the picket are calling for protests in Queens when the New York Mets play the Arizona Diamondbacks on July 30 and 31. For information, contact [email protected] or find us on Facebook.

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