Portraits of Phoenix Latinos Featured on the Cover of TIME Magazine

The issue's cover story, Yo Decido., focuses on the Latino vote that's up for grabs in Arizona -- also the theme of "Brown Wave," a New Times feature about young Latinos, including undocumented students, mobilizing west Phoenix voters and helping increase voter turnout by nearly five times. TIME reporter Michael Sherer writes: 

In the coming weeks, the Obama campaign will open its fourth field office in Arizona, a state no Democrat has won since Bill Clinton and which native-son John McCain won in 2008 by nine points ... For the Obama campaign nationwide, "expanding the electorate" increasingly means "expanding the Latino electorate." If Obama is able to win heavily-Latino Western states like Nevada, Colorado and Arizona, he could still win in the electoral college even if he loses historically key states in the industrial Midwest like Ohio and Wisconsin.

The images on TIME's cover were taken by photographer Marco Grob, who traveled to Phoenix for a few days and set up a booth during the Centennial celebration on February 11 and 12. 

He and a few TIME employees asked a number of Phoenix Latinos questions about their voting plans before asking them to sit for a picture. A few weeks later, two well-known names in the local arts community and 18 other local Latino residents received phone calls from TIME. 

"My mom will end up with some, I'm sure," says Mario Mendia, the operational chariman of Arizona Latin@ Arts & Cultural Center (and the face behind the "T"). "They asked me what my voting plans were and I told them that if you don't like the way things are being done, do something about it ... Of course I'm going to vote." 

During the centennial weekend, local actor (and face below the "I") Marcelino Quiñonez was hosting the Arizona Dream Act Coalition's Dancing for a Dream. He says he saw the TIME booth and sat for a picture. A few weeks later he got a call from his brother: "'Brother,' he said to me, 'You're on the cover of TIME magazine... It was surreal."

The final Republican debate before the Super Tuesday primary was in Arizona this week -- something Sherer calls an "awkward coincidence." It would be hard to argue against Arizona's position as the center of the national immigration debate. And in the next year, its Latino community is going to be listening closely to the candidates' takes on immigration and beyond. 

TIME hits stands next week. 

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