Feathered Bastard

Cesar Chavez Dinner Protested by Sal Reza, Barrio Defense Committees

Videographer Dennis Gilman's account of the protest outside the Sheraton on Thursday

Here's something you don't see everyday: A local Latino group protesting a Cesar Chavez Dinner.

See also: -Joe Arpaio Cozies Up to Latino Pastors, Prensa Hispana, and Michael Nowakowski Days Before Employer Raid (w/Update)

The group? Sal Reza's Barrio Defense Committees. The dinner was being held at the Phoenix Sheraton last Thursday.

The focus of the BDC's anger: the corporate sponsorships of the event, particularly the involvement of a lawyer who works for the mega-firm Snell & Wilmer.

Snell & Wilmer is the firm that represented Governor Jan Brewer in the lawsuits over Arizona's racist Senate Bill 1070.

The firm is immense. According to its website, Snell & Wilmer boasts "more than 400 attorneys practicing in eight locations throughout the western United States and in Mexico."

The lawyer from Snell & Wilmer on the Phoenix dinner committee specializes in "zoning and land use planning," not constitutional law.

And Snell & Wilmer is not listed on the dinner's site as a sponsor.

Still, Snell & Wilmer's name carries the stigma of 1070 with it.

The number and type of corporate sponsors for the dinner is impressive. The foundation is a 501c3 non-profit, and according to Guidestar, reported a staggering $61.9 million in net assets as of the end of 2011.

Although I've been critical of Phoenix City Councilman and Cesar Chavez Foundation executive Vice President Michael Nowakowski's recent meeting with Sheriff Joe Arpaio and his lack of support for the recall effort, the Cesar Chavez Foundation reputedly does some good work in regard to affordable housing.

Needless to say, the opinions expressed in the video are those of videographer Dennis Gilman and the people he interviews.

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Stephen is a former staff writer and columnist at Phoenix New Times.
Contact: Stephen Lemons