Enter Team Awesome — among them many who defy their undocumented status and, without casting a single ballot, take civic engagement to new heights. They are stepping out of the shadows, and not allowing laws aimed at preventing them from driving, working, or getting an education to keep them from having a voice.


Arizona got a sneak peek last year of what that army is capable of, when student organizers — many of them undocumented immigrants who are all but lifelong U.S. residents — brought about the civic awakening of several thousands of Phoenix Latinos.

Adriana (right) and other student volunteers look over maps of the Avondale neighborhoods they're planning to work.
Adriana (right) and other student volunteers look over maps of the Avondale neighborhoods they're planning to work.
(From left to right) Adriana, Liliana Martinez, and Griselda Martinez load up on campaign literature to share in the field.
(From left to right) Adriana, Liliana Martinez, and Griselda Martinez load up on campaign literature to share in the field.

Just as they're doing this year, the students spent last summer knocking on doors previously untouched by political hands — in parts of town with such low voter turnout that they never drew the attention of candidates.

Their efforts paid off in Phoenix City Council District 5, which stretches roughly from Northern Avenue to Thomas Road between 15th and 107th avenues.

As they pushed for Daniel Valenzuela, a Glendale firefighter and longtime West Phoenix resident, to win a seat on the Phoenix City Council, the young activists also threw their support behind Greg Stanton, a mayoral candidate who made clear his opposition to rigid anti-immigration laws. His opponent, Wes Gullett, offered public support to SB 1070, backing the mandate for local cops to enforce federal immigration laws.

Gary Segura, a political science professor at Stanford University and a principal at the polling firm Latino Decisions, tells New Times that while it's unclear just how great a role SB 1070 played in revving political engagement within the Latino community, he believes it hastened the movement.

"Threat is a very effective motivator, and when people feel threatened, they act," he says.

Though there were obviously factors other than immigration in play during the Phoenix race — among them taxes, historic preservation, and public transportation — the students' efforts paid huge dividends as Valenzuela became the first Latino to represent that city district in decades, and Stanton was sworn in as mayor.

In that November 2011 election, Latino voter turnout in Valenzuela's district jumped by nearly 400 percent compared to four years earlier in that same part of town, according to an analysis of post-election data.

About 900 Latino voters showed up at the polls in District 5 in 2007, but more than 4,400 cast ballots in 2011.

The trend picked up momentum throughout Phoenix: Voter turnout in 2011 among Hispanics tripled with 22,744 voters, compared to only 7,760 Latinos in 2007.

They were sending a message to local politicians.

"If we can't change the laws, then we'll change the lawmakers," says Viri Hernandez, a DREAMer who is more motivated now than ever.

They understand that the dynamics of a local election are different from countywide races, like the Maricopa County Sheriff's race pitting Arpaio against the students' pick, former Phoenix cop Paul Penzone; or statewide races, like Richard Carmona's run for U.S. Senate.

While the traditional campaign machinery focuses on political messages in mailers, signs, and media ads, the volunteers on the ground are using their tried and true strategy — reach voters repeatedly and personally.


Post-election data by Arizona's Democratic Party reveals that 70 percent of first-time Latino voters in the 2011 election were contacted at least twice — some, many more times.

Change is possible, says Hernandez.

In Glendale, three Latinos are running for posts on the City Council, including Manny Cruz, who is making a bid for mayor. For a community whose population is nearly half Latino, that council has long lacked a voice.

It worked two years ago, when volunteers hit the streets for Norma Alvarez, and they helped elect that first representative voice for Latinos on the Glendale City Council. Last month in Tempe, Latino and Democratic groups supported Mark Mitchell for mayor; he won by a 139-vote margin.

In the four days before the Tempe election, Chapman says, groups knocked on more than 6,000 doors.

"Somewhere in there, there had to be 139 votes," he says, reinforcing the importance of having passionate student volunteers who are staking their futures on these candidates.

Arizona's left-of-center leaders also expect political change to come as a result of the state's newly redrawn legislative maps that carve out new minority-heavy districts and make others more competitive. The maps, approved by the U.S. Department of Justice, all but guarantee that the Republicans will lose their supermajority hold in the state Legislature.

The redistricting commission eliminated districts that previously were "safe" Republican districts and leveled the playing field by creating more politically competitive districts.

A June 2012 analysis by the Arizona Capitol Times suggests the possibility that Democrats will pick up enough seats in the Senate to split the chamber down the middle and "effectively give Democrats powers akin to a gubernatorial veto . . . [in which] voting as a bloc, they could stop Republican proposals dead in their tracks."

The Democrats now have the opportunity to boost their representation in the Arizona House, which boasts a mere five Latino lawmakers, and the Senate, which includes four Latinos.

"If [Latinos] show up to vote in numbers that reflect their growing population, they can most certainly be a force in this election, across the board," says Joseph Garcia, analyst of Latino Public Policy at ASU's Morrison Institute for Public Policy. "But we've been hearing for years that the Latino voters finally are going to flex their muscle, and that really has yet to materialize. But this year seems to have a different vibe to it."

« Previous Page
 |
 
1
 
2
 
3
 
4
 
5
 
6
 
7
 
All
 
Next Page »
 
My Voice Nation Help
51 comments
none
none

@swlonewolf.. I totallly agree with you ... .GOP or as others fondly call them Republicans? cannot be trusted... That is why I vote TOTAL democrat... 

Mary H Gomez
Mary H Gomez

Keep the momentum going! Yes! We need a clean sweep of the vile and vicious politicians and police forces to a less fear based people. We can come together for our state and for all people!

all american
all american

To Pat if you are americans vote with an enlish speaking balot only and tell Telemundo, Telefutura, Azteca and Univision that they can no longer broadcast into the United States then I will believe your americans.

Tahoejer
Tahoejer

If our Nation continues to not enforce our immigrtation laws, we are doomed!!!!! Illegal aliens should be deported. Legal immigration made America great! Illegal immigration is bankrupting and destroying America.

David
David

Really, Blowjob, isn't politics the reason your own country didn't want you? That's Europe if you didn't know! And the reason your white asses ended up here in this Continent? How about we throw your white ass back to England so you can get involved in your own countries politics so you can educate your OWN people. Get a clue jerk off before you engage that clueless mind of yours!!!

David
David

John A. Don't waste your energy and time trying to explain nothing to these ignorant Motherfuckers here in this state. They are all led around by there balls by these Scumbag republican bigmouths. All these racists turds don't have anything else to do but run their sewer holes on the Internet, and putting American flags all over their cars and houses, like some how they are more American than anybody of color. Remember who walked this land and cared for it before you greedy white motherfuckers destroyed it. I'm Mexican and a US CITIZEN assholes, WHAT!!!

Uradumbass
Uradumbass

Actually, the politicians are for whatever will get them re-elected; they are but a mirror reflecting the racist, bigoted and ignorant population that exists within our state.

Pat
Pat

stop calling us mexicans monica. we are americans.

blah blah blah
blah blah blah

The entitlement attitude gets handed down from these illegal parents to their illegal children. Now the children hold their hands out for some form of amnesty just like their parents did when they smuggled themselves in our country. When does it end?? Kids of illegals should be trying to right the wrongs that their parents made by high tailing their way to obtain Visa's and green cards. Otherwise all funding should be cut off to these people.

Guest
Guest

I AGREE Lock & Load!!

Jxv605
Jxv605

just shows how ignorant people are...they need to have people run around telling them whats going on..and registar to vote. Dosnt anyone read, or view news events..or local politics! All they are interested today is in stupid ass reality shows..i.e. Kardashians, Jersey shores, and all the other innane superficial and geared towards the morons of our society. Then they wonder how this Obama the Dictator got into office.

Mateonelson
Mateonelson

After watching the video and looking at the pictures of the demonstrators desecrating the Arizona and United States Flags, why are they here. If they dislike the United States so bad then they should leave. They have no respect and have a sence of entitlement. We need to eliminate all illegal aliens from this country no matter which country they originated. Then we need to secure the borders to keep out all illegal aliens. If people wish to emigrate to the United States, they can go through proper channels. Just as if someone wanted to move to Mexico. Immigration does not equal illegal immigration.

jeff c
jeff c

Raul Grijalva is a total ass. sorry he is with the state of az.he got his head so far up obamas ass. him and napolatano both suck.she never done anything when she was so called gov. of az. another worthless ass in office.

Traxx1
Traxx1

Here we go again What is it about the illigals ?? sneak across our borders in the middle of the night, hands stuck out for OUR countrys welefare, don't learn to speak ENGLISH and say they have Rights ?? Bull s%$t GO HOME and come to OUR COUNTRY as a LEGAL IMMIGRENT.

Wacian
Wacian

Don't know about the other candidates they're supporting, but Raul Grijalva is co-chair of the Progressive/Socialist Caucus, a past member of MECha (a separatist Marxist group), and he is connected to the AZ district of Communist Party USA.

diane
diane

If you don't like it, move on.

Jimnbubba
Jimnbubba

Are you talking any hispanic? Or citizens of the USA

Jimnbubba
Jimnbubba

The Obama cover up of Brian Perry's death will be at 10AM in Tucson

TLw3ewe
TLw3ewe

This stupid news should not be here for WEEKS.

diane
diane

Right on.........all the news stations are for the illegals because it supplies them with their daily or weekly news. All the news stories are to make us feel sad about their situation. How about them having stories on legal citizens that can't get any of the 'free' stuff even though they pay taxes so that the illegals can benefit from all the 'free' rewards we seem to give them. Something is very wrong with their morals and values!

JOE_WINS_IN_A_LANDSLIDE!!
JOE_WINS_IN_A_LANDSLIDE!!

DB14 you are racist for using the word Hispanic. The proper wording is : The entitled.

Uradumbass
Uradumbass

Actually, both of you sound like bigots, not racists (at least on this forum - who the fuck knows what goes on inside your heads and in private).

Emil Pulsifer
Emil Pulsifer

To my earlier comment, let me add this: (1) According to the 2010 Census data, about 6 percent of Hispanics in Arizona were 15-17. So, by the time 2013 rolls around, a substantial number of Hispanics will be newly eligible. During this time, still younger Hispanics have been moving up the pipeline also. (Theirs is a very young demographic: the median age of Hispanics in Arizona is 25.4 compared with that of non-Hispanic Whites at 44.5 years.) It would be logistically difficult to wait ten years and try to register all of the new voters: much easier to get as many as currently eligible now and work on the new ones as they crop up. That's why voter registration efforts NOW are so critical. (2) Regarding Hispanic voter participation rates for the November 2011 election (i.e., the percentage of Hispanic registered voters who actually voted): overall turnout (all voters, not just Hispanic) was just 26 percent, If the participation rate among Hispanics in Phoenix was 18.8 percent (see earlier comment) then, even though turnout for city elections is low (despite 2011 being a record year for voter participation), Hispanics are still below the average participatio rate. Demographics counts for little if you don't take advantage of it at the polls.

Jesse
Jesse

She should be deport along with the rest of her family. I find it hard for educated prople to not understand the word ILLEGAL.

Mateonelson
Mateonelson

Here is a passage from the article, "Students like Adriana — along with a huge cadre of other volunteers, other organizations — are fighting so that they never have to settle again, fighting to change a political atmosphere in Arizona created by more than a decade of anti-immigrant laws culminating two years ago with Arizona Senate Bill 1070, a law that essentially turns state and local police into immigration-enforcement agents." This New Times article is very slanted, they state "anti-immigrant laws" which is completely false, SB 1070 is anti illegal immigrant oriented. Anyone who is a legal immigrant did it the legal way. Just because you can cross the border without being detected does not entitle you to any benefits of being a citizen of this country no matter how long you have been here undetected. Some of the reasons we have immigration laws is to not allow immigrants into the country due to criminal records, diseases, and ability to support themselves once they are here. My biggest fear is an illegal immigrant could be a murderer or carry communicable diseases that can spread among the population once they enter the country and have contact with people within a city. We need a political lobby for the citizens of this country to combat all the illegal immigrant coalitions who seek protection for illegal immigrants. This is complete madness that we cater to illegal immigrants when we should be catering to the legal citizens of this country, this is what our tax money is for--the legal citizens of the United States of America.

Alchemyetf
Alchemyetf

because the "legal" citizens who vote, that is the key, vote, are conservative, want to keep to themselves, and not be hasseled by government, be it national or state....this is the wild west, ya know

Uradumbass
Uradumbass

Yeah - small government - small enough to fit inside a woman's vagina, right? Fuckin' authoratarians.

Nicholsdaves
Nicholsdaves

Jan Brewer abused her Government Authority to Defrauded Social Security for $75,000.00 to reward her Knife Point Rapist Son Ron for his Heinous Crime, as he served out his sentence! Jan Brewer is a Crook, and her Knife Point Raping Son Ron Harmed Society. We should Deport them? Jail them if they return? Obama is being very kind to theiving Jan Brewer, and has given Her "Amnesty " from the Jail Time she deserves, and is allowing Her to simply pay back the $75.000.00 that she Stole.

Nicholsdaves
Nicholsdaves

Like the Millions of Good Hard Working un-documented Parents of our own Citizen Children? Like the Millions of America's Hardest, Most Devoted Workers that Prior to the January 2008 start of the E-verify Law, and the I.C.E. Deportation/Incarceration Programs Labored Hard to Make America Great? Like the Millions of Hands that Labored Hard to Feed America? Like Those Many? TO: The Real American "Dream", To be an American. This is our I.C.E.'d Economy,! I.C.E. "Put the Car in the Ditch". Where it is still Stuck! Wake up America.

Traxx1
Traxx1

She is one of the few but what about the meny who are not like her ??

Hercules-monster
Hercules-monster like.author.displayName 1 Like

Nice, people like this should be allowed legal status. Its the crooks & others doing harm to our society that should be deported. Deported quickly & jailed if they return. She has what it takes.

blah blah blah
blah blah blah

You don't want to Deport/Incarcerate Parents away from their legal Citizen Children? We are working on fixing that misread and abused policy too. The 14th Amendment existed for the slaves, noone else, not people lollygaggin' across the border droppin' anchors. It's written clear as day.

Nicholsdaves
Nicholsdaves

The Big Picture? We need to have Responsible Immigration Reform, like what Congress was Debating in 2006. The Decision to Deport, and use "Attrition" to starve our own legal Citizen Children so that their Parentas will leave, was wrong, Morally, and it is Against every thing being an American stands for. It also caused the entire "Foreclosure Crisis", "The Great Recession", and our "New National Deficit." All of which began January 2008. The Hard Work Immigrants gladly did for America was the very Foundation of our Strong Economy, and their Hard Labor actually supported all other American Jobs. Many Millions of these Good, Hard Working un-documented Immigrants have been here for nearly thirty years. This is their Home. They came here undocumented because there is No Line for Poor Working Class Immigrants Period. They have become part of the Fabric of our Society, most of them have legal Citizen Children, and Families. "America is great because it is good, when it ceases to be good, it ceases to be great." Alex De Tocqueville This Great Nation of Immigrants was Built on Far Better Principles, and Values, than to Rip Apart Good, Christian Families, and Deport/Incarcerate Parents away from their legal Citizen Children! This is America's Darkest Hour. Since the January 2008 start of Arizona's Anti Immigrant Rant, which has been fueled in large part by Supremacist's, and Private Prisonn Profiteering, Maricopa County now has over a Half Million Vacated Homes. All Home Values have dropped by about Half. Fact: The Twenty-Five year period prior to January 2008 when Un-documented Immigrants were allowed to Work Hard with us was the "Most Prosperous Period in Total U.S. History." We must all work together to once again make America Strong. To: Right.

Jbprewitt
Jbprewitt

if she is here illegally, then she should"nt be allowed to do any thing. now that we know where she is, she should be picked up and deported.

Guest
Guest

Sounds Like Your Trying Undermine Arizona With Some Corrupt Latino Politictions Like Mexico Has!!! And I Bet Most Of Your Voters Are Here Illegally

Mary Noriega
Mary Noriega

Third generation Mexican,senior citizen supporting SB1070. The illegals are destroying this country known as the USA. They come here produce one child after another to collect welfare benefits. The old myth they will do a job no citizen will do this is no longer true. They refuse to learn english or obey the laws. Obama is reaching out to the illegals who can't vote, the legal Mexican citizens support SB 1070 mostly the senior citizens.

xrated
xrated

You are one classless, America hating, progressive idiot. Yes it is too bad that the native Americans were not smart enough to have and enforce immigration laws. If they had perhaps they would still be in control of this land. Why you advocate the current residents of this country should repeat their mistake makes zero sense. You love Mexicans so much... move to that shithole that is Mexico and live in the filth and corruption that they have wrought on themselves.

swlonewolf
swlonewolf like.author.displayName 1 Like

I'll be voting Democrat. The GOP cannot be trusted.

white
white

It's vary interesting how latino's are tought to love they're race and we are tought to hate ours.

Tomato
Tomato

You get real moron... they're getting Latino *citizens* to register to vote. You don't like; go fuck yourself.

Tomato
Tomato

You're a lying sack of shit. You think you're being smart, right. But, sadly, you're just a racist dumbass.

Big Dawg
Big Dawg

I've known several friends who have been deported after being asked to come down to the Team Awesome Offices which turned out to be a front office for ICE!

Big Dawg
Big Dawg

The use of "volunteers" posing as democrat vote getters and in this case Team Awesome are actually sting operations design to entrap and deport illegals by the Immigration and Customs Enforcement Agency. Latinos beware do not speak to anyone from Team Awesome because they are actually from obama team deportation!

Big Dawg
Big Dawg

Team Awesome is actually a sting operation by the local authorities to trap potential illegal aliens in Phoenix. Latinos are well advised not to speak to anyone proporting to be from Team Awesome or else they will face immediate deportation!

blah blah blah
blah blah blah

Illegal=illegal. Plus a sh*t ton of damage control that is on the backs of citizens now! Enforce the damn laws for the safety of its citizens like other countries do!

blah blah blah
blah blah blah

The law remains and was voted constitutional. SB1070 is just a start. States are sick of this illegal bullsh*t they have to put up with and pay for on a daily basis. There will be more if this to come, so pull your panties up and deal with it like other countries that enforce their immigration laws do. It's going to be sink or swim now. California has sunk.

 
Phoenix Concert Tickets
Loading...