La Vida

Comments (0)

Best Pro-Immigrant Activist Phoenix 2009 - Lydia Guzman

If Phoenix human rights activist Lydia Guzman has ever had a lazy day in her life, we haven't seen it. Guzman, who heads two vital immigrant rights organizations, Respect/Respeto and Somos America, is usually a blur of motion. You might hear her voice on Spanish-language radio, urging listeners to call Respect/Respeto about being racially profiled. Or you might get the seat next to her when she's at the Legislature keeping an eye on hateful, anti-immigrant bills being considered there. And if Arpaio's doing a raid of a local business, collaring mothers and fathers and other regular workers at candle-making factories or car washes, Guzman will be there, too.

You might catch her on the evening news, talking about the hunger strikers in Joe's jails or the MCSO's atrocity du jour. But you won't catch her for long. Part of her duties at Respect/Respeto is gathering "testimony" of civil rights abuses and racial profiling. So she spends a lot of time on the phone with moms weeping because one of their grown children has been nabbed by the MCSO for being in the country sans papers, or interviewing crying children who've lost their moms and dads in the same manner. Often, she ventures into the jails, like to Estrella, to visit with Hispanic women who allege injuries at the hands of Arpaio's detention officers.

Best of Phoenix 2009 In Photos

Guzman also cries a lot. The tears flow when she sees others recounting the pain or abuse they've endured. As you can imagine, it's emotionally draining, less a job than a calling. Something she has to do. Ask her what she wants for her birthday, and she'll tell you, "Joe Arpaio indicted and the 287(g) program ended." She's a selfless individual. But, hey, she ain't no saint. She can cuss up a storm when she's pissed. But she never forgets to give you a bear hug when you bid her goodbye.

Earlier this year, Guzman was elected president of Somos America ("We Are America," in English), a patchwork quilt of local organizations that came together during the 2006 pro-immigrant marches and demonstrations. The organization's prime directive is "to mobilize for social justice and equal rights for immigrant communities in Arizona." In other words, Guzman has her hands full. Again. Here's hoping she remembers to take a vacay once in a blue moon. Because one thing's for certain in "Ari-bama": the suffering and injustice will be here when she returns.

My Voice Nation Help
13 comments
Amadeus332
Amadeus332

Amen Sister Amen I'm happy you reposted...great read...congrats.

Eddie Gonzalez
Eddie Gonzalez

hola lydia mi nomre es Eduardo Gonzalez kiero felicitarla por el apoyo ke le brinda ciempre para toda nuestra comunidad. save yo vivo serca de sedona az estuve trabajando para un contratista de direc tv me deve mas de 4 semanas de trabajo y no se akien acudir si ud fuera tan amable en proporcionarme alguna informacion se lo agradeseria con todo mi corazon grasias de antemano y adelante y k dios la proteja. Eddie. mi correo es eddie.gonzo@hotmail.com

Leticia Ponce
Leticia Ponce

Hello Ms Guzman, I just want to let you know that I am proud of all the work you do to defend the rights of our Immigrants. Keep up the good work and God Bless You and your family. Sincerely, Leticia Ponce.

Eileen T. Casey
Eileen T. Casey

THE 14TH AMENDMENT, IS A JUST AND LEGAL PART OF OUR SYSTEM, NOTE I SAID LEGAL. HELPING ILLEGALS IN THIS COUNTRY SHOULD BE TANTAMOUNT TO GOING TO JAIL. BUT OUR GOVERNMENT HAS SEEN FIT TO TURN THE OTHER WAY BECAUSE THESE ARE LOW PAYING JOBS AND ALSO VOTE GETTERS. MY HOPE IS THAT THIS GOES THROUGH AND PASSES, SO PEOPLE LIKE YOURSELF WILL FINALLY FIND A GOOD JOB HELPING LEGAL AMERICANS. YOU SPEAK OF UNCONSTITUTIONAL AND UNAMERICAN, NOTHING COULD BE THE FARTHEST FROM THE TRUTH, WHAT YOU ARE DOING IN UNCONSTITUTIONAL AND UNAMERICAN.WE WILL WIN!!!

lotaguirre
lotaguirre

An unjust law is no law at all.For Lydia GuzmanBlessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted. Blessed are the gentle, for they shall inherit the earth. Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be satisfied. Blessed are the merciful, for they shall receive mercy. Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God. Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called sons of God. Blessed are those who have been persecuted for the sake of righteousness for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. Blessed are you when people insult you and persecute you and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of ME. Rejoice and be glad, for your reward in heaven is great; for in the same way they persecuted the prophets who were before you. (Matthew 5:4-12 New American Standard Bible)

Be blessed our prayers are with you. God is a witness againstthose who mistreat the immigrants. God will judge the offenders. Woe to them who cause the offense.

Antonio Varela
Antonio Varela

I don'know your family and you don't know mind please leave my brother out your mouth. My brother is Juan Varela and was kill by a white man and you know what you said on paper. keep on protesting and help are people, and for Daniel Ortega my brother help his son in baseball and knows him for a long time never did he call my MoM and said I'm sorry about Juan. If you are really out to help are people my God always protect you. From a man that is sad on how some of are people down play this and other don't care please again keep my brother in your mind and remember A mother see all this when he shot him. Some thing I know you would not like to have to remember and my MOM dose. God bless you

Al
Al

She is just another legal criminal! What part of ILLEGAL do these latinos not understand? She should be jaied, along with the other criminal trash from across the border!

bill
bill

Way i see it if the latinos that where here legally an lawful citizen's then they would be turning in the illegal's an there wouldn't have to be a sheriff joe come knocking on the door.Sending text messages to warn of inpending police sweep's to capture illegals, i mean come on if called an warned somebody the cops where coming i would be arrested for impeding and/or acessory after the fact.I applaud her work with the rights groups but i think there is a line with supporting right and supproting illegal activity.

Charles
Charles

Saying she is the "Best Of" of anything is like saying Dillinger was the "Best Of" bank robbers. She is a criminal and she is helping criminals enter this country illegally. She should be arrested and put in the same cells as those she helps sneak into this country. She is not helping this country she is helping herself and her family and that is it. Arrest her... She is a criminal.

becky
becky

Okay as far as i am concerned this is still the United States Of America. this is not little mexico or arizona controlled by wetbacks. I really have no problem with her actions but her beliefs if they are here illegal ship them out. If they have kids here sorry there is no reason we should support them also. Try American born citizans that can't get ahccs for health problems. but if your illegal there you go free ride. Go back to your own country and come back legally. You don't think that as americans we don't bust our butts to support our own families. But we get short changed due to what illegals. Now i don't agree with everything sheriff joe does but some of it i do.

Steve Conrad
Steve Conrad

The argument that stopping and detaining Latino illegal immigrants is "racial profiling" is nonsense in view of the fact that over 90% of illegal aliens in the southern states are Latinos. Who is the sheriff supposed to look for - Norwegians?

Slideshows

Search Best Of Awards

Best of Award Graphics

Loading...