Some artists already have stepped up to make a stand, such as Rage Against the Machine/One Day as a Lion frontman Zack de la Rocha and Ernesto Yerena, an L.A. graphic artist who works with Shepard Fairey, of Obama/Hope poster fame. There have been local artists, as well, but not nearly enough to counterbalance the ongoing injustice and tyranny of Sheriff Joe Arpaio and others.

Within the past couple of weeks, however, I've seen signs that local creative types are beginning to agitate. There was the recent parody of Queen's "Bohemian Rhapsody" (with pro-immigrant lyrics) that interrupted the last 15 minutes of Arpaio's appearance at the ASU's Cronkite School of Journalism.

While some students were disrupting Joe's confab with journalism profs, a group of anarchists and activists took the school's lobby, without a peep from the police. There, the Phoenix "punkgrass" trio Haymarket Squares gave an impromptu concert, crooning an anti-Arpaio song with lyrics making mention of the victims in Joe's jails. I've posted a YouTube video of the Haymarketers in action on my Feathered Bastard blog. You can also catch them on Friday, December 11, at Mardi Gras Bar & Grill in Scottsdale.

Ramon Delgadillo's Crucifixion, now on display at the new Arizona Latino Arts and Cultural Center in downtown Phoenix.
Ramon Delgadillo's Crucifixion, now on display at the new Arizona Latino Arts and Cultural Center in downtown Phoenix.

The Haymarket Squares' "Sheriff Joe" ditty recalls such folk songsters of yore, such as Pete Seeger and Woody Guthrie. It makes a cool companion piece to Tucson rapper Outlaw Fleetwood's hip-hop tune "Tent City," which I wrote about in a September Bird column.

In addition, the opening of the new Arizona Latino Arts and Cultural Center, at 147 East Adams Street, across from the Hyatt hotel downtown, featured a handful of artworks aimed at Arpaio, the MCSO, and their persecution of the undocumented. ALAC's debut exhibit, "Visiones," included more than 45 artists, most of them doing less-controversial stuff. But it was the anti-Joe material that caught my eye.

Chino Valley sculptor David Romo depicted Arpaio as a creepy, lizard-y king, with an alligator head topped by a copper crown and a skeletal steel body that held a pair of handcuffs in one hand and a key in the other.

A mini-mural on canvas done by Phoenix artist Francisco Garcia showed an Arizona divided, literally, by a bifurcated face. Half was Joe's face, flanked by an MCSO deputy in a black ski mask, drawing down on the viewer. The left half was the face of César Chávez, and to his side, Latino students demonstrating in favor of the Dream Act.

The masked cop was inspired by a March New Times cover illustrating Village Voice Media Executive Editor Michael Lacey's feature, "Are Your Papers in Order?," the beginning of our series on Arpaio's racial profiling. You may also recall that Garcia is the same artist whose work was censored by the Pine-Strawberry Elementary School because it included the image of an African-American child.

The third anti-MCSO offering was the most iconic, and the most powerful: painter Ramon Delgadillo's Crucifixion. On an orange backdrop, a sheriff's deputy points his handgun at a kneeling prisoner. The prisoner's arms are outstretched, his hands bearing stigmata. Around his head is a golden aura indicating sainthood.

"Everybody's being crucified by this guy [Arpaio]," Delgadillo, 60, said to me about the religious overtones in his piece. "That's the way I feel about what he's doing to our people."

Delgadillo has experienced MCSO discrimination first-hand. A court interpreter, he was denied access to Joe's jails in 2007, even though he'd worked in the court system for more than 25 years, and though he was and is a naturalized American citizen. Arpaio's goons were demanding that Delgadillo prove his citizenship.

"Throughout time, artists have been the voice of rebellion," said Delgadillo, who still works for the courts as a freelance interpreter. "And they have exposed things like this to the world. I can't imagine doing something just because it looks pretty."

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9 comments
WHITEY
WHITEY

These is no such thing as an economic refugee that is not white is there?All of these white American's sneaking into mexico to get on welfare and free medical care.

In 'fact' the majority on welfare in mexico IS white right?

cisco
cisco

That may be a silly way to evaluate your pastor's sermons or your priest's homilies. Still the larger point remains: The scriptures of Christians and Jews, the Bible, have a lot to say about "resident aliens," "foreigners in your midst," "sojourners and strangers among you." How a society treats strangers, foreigners and resident aliens is arguably a major focus, even preoccupation, of the Bible.

The overall theme of the Bible's teaching is summed up in Exodus 22:21, "You shall not wrong or oppress a resident alien, for you were aliens in the land of Egypt." Reminding the people of biblical Israel that they had been slaves in Egypt, the Hebrews are enjoined to treat aliens, foreigners and sojourners in their midst fairly and with respect. Leviticus 19:34 echoes and expands upon the Exodus teaching. "The alien who resides among you shall be to you as the citizen among you; you shall love the alien as yourself, for you were aliens in the land of Egypt; I am the Lord your God." From the New Testament Letter to the Hebrews we hear, "Do not neglect to show hospitality to strangers, for by doing so some have entertained angels unawares."

Why is the matter of the immigrant or the "foreigner who resides among you" such a concern of the Jewish and Christian faiths and what bearing does it have on the current immigration debate in our country? As for the first question, the answer is that God didn't want the ancient Hebrews to forget where they had come from, or how they had gotten where they were, namely, the Promised Land. They had come from slavery in Egypt. They knew what it was like to be exploited and taken advantage of. Now that they had land and wealth they shouldn't forget that hadn't always been the case. Ring any bells? It should. Most Americans are the descendents of immigrants.

sisco
sisco

I think Sheriff Joe will buy some paintings of mine. More murals are coming to a city near you. if you would like to support mural like these. buy some tshirts from me. myspace.com/grafftruth.

sisco
sisco

I think Sheriff Joe will by some paintings of mine. More murals are coming to a city near you. if you would like to support mural like these. buy some tshirts from me. myspace.com/grafftruth.

Auntie Illegal
Auntie Illegal

It is true that illegals can not get benefits, until the female drops that 'anchor'. Now don't use my name and get all nuts. The 14 amendment to our constitution was not intended for illegal aliens and anchor babies and has become a joke. We should be able to back date those birth certificates to last amnesty and deport the rest. My family came from another country, they came legally. they learned the language and never would of dreamt of welfare or disgracing the family by putting their hands out in the worst of times. Illegals are criminals and should learn some really hard lessons about what happens to these criminals. They are criminals... bleeding hearts get on the bus and go back to their countries with them and try and get the freebies there. Good Luck

CadillacDreams
CadillacDreams

Ali, you ignorant slut, go back and read the article. It absolutely mentions U.S. born kids of undocumented parents. They call them "American citizens." Look it up. It's in this little thing called the Constitution. Oh, and they are just as deserving of federal assistance as you are, fucktard.

Jeff
Jeff

Let's not forget Obamas Auntie Zeituni living in subsidized housing. She was ordered deported 7 years ago.

DRC
DRC

So being a nativist, in other words caring about your country, makes you racist? Very simple. When my grandparents came over here after WW2 they did a couple of crazy things. One, did it legally, two, learned English, three became proud Americans and learned what it meant to be American. Culture, customs etc. Although they loved their heritage they loved to be American. I can't say that for all those who wish to stay here. They want the benefits but could care less about being an American. Their loyalty runs elsewhere.

Ali
Ali

The article noticeably ignores the fact that illegal aliens ARE eligible to collect welfare benefits on behalf of their US-born kids, and do. See yesterday's article in the Washington Post, part of a series on Latino children in the US, in which illegal alien parents were doing just that. Benefits that the childen receive such as food and subsidized housing are also used to benefit the entire family and are also benefits we wouldn't be paying if illegal aliens hadn't chosen to act even more irresponsibly in having children here that they can't support.

 
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