On Sunday, I had the chance to be part of the “O” in the spelling out of SOS Congress, an effort to bring unity to an issue that has divided us as a community. Since Governor Brewer signed SB1070 into law, Arizona has been in both the national and international spotlights. Boycotts and protests have been called in an effort to bring attention to the law. However, this event spoke to me in a very different way than past efforts.
As I arrived at the Heard Museum, I saw plenty of familiar faces. The event that was organized by Local First Arizona founder and Executive Director Kimber Lanning. In the recent months I have seen my fair share of anger from both sides, but Sunday’s event was simply about sharing a message with the rest of the world, giving it a different taste of Arizona, showing it the many faces of our community. I think Kimber said it best, “Starving our business community, which could be focused on real solutions on comprehensive reform, is not a solution. We are at ground zero in this national crisis and if we want to solve the complex problems associated with illegal immigration in an intelligent manner, we need support and patience not judgment.” For those of us who have made this community our home, it is difficult to watch the struggle. And we absolutely know that we can’t afford another blow to our already severe economic crisis.
While Sunday’s event does not solve the problem over night, it gave my heart a sigh of relief. As the original announcement says, “we want to put a face on the people who live here, and we need to show that we are standing in unison. We are in the middle of a crisis that could last our lifetime if we don’t stand up now and let our voices be heard.” Crawling out of bed on an early Sunday morning in late June, is not something many Phoenicians, let alone Arizonans attempt. However, this cause was well worth it and seeing my downtown neighbors show their support reminded me what Phoenix is all about. We may have unbearable summers, but when push comes to shove, we refuse to watch our community fall apart.
If you had the chance to attend SOS Phoenix, we would love to hear your thoughts!