For those who have kvetched about the boycott of Arizona over SB 1070, here's an interesting riposte: Zack de la Rocha's musicians-boycott, Soundstrike, along with other groups such as Puente, the National Day Laborer Organizing Network, and Presente.org, will be giving away thousands of toys and bags of groceries to needy families this holiday season.
Puente boasts that over 5,000 Arizona families will receive bags of groceries, and thousands of children will receive toys. Soundstrike has donated over 40 tons of food staples for the giveaway to migrant families, which will take place during a Community Posada on December 18 from 1 p.m. to 7 p.m., at county Supervisor Mary Rose Wilcox's restaurant El Portal, 117 W. Grant Street, Phoenix.
The date is no mistake. December 18 is International Migrants Day, as declared by the United Nations.
Human rights leader Sal Reza of Puente says the Posada is the beginning of an effort to establish a co-op, where families will be able to buy staples in bulk that come from out-of-state, or from local Native American tribes, like the Navajo Nation. (The Diné people have donated beans for the giveaway, according to Reza.) This, so average people can participate in the boycott locally.
Though a toy giveaway may seem commonplace for the Christmas season, Reza points out that the idea came from watching Sheriff Joe Arpaio's deputies hand toys to children whose mothers the MCSO had just arrested during Arpaio's infamous anti-immigrant sweeps.
"The sheriff has a toy drive for the kids, but really he's using those toys when he's separating families, destroying families," said Reza. "While we're giving away toys to bring joy to the kids."
Reza's comment brings to mind a 2009 incident when, during one of the MCSO's sweeps, a masked MCSO deputy arrested mother Ciria Lopez-Pacheco in front of her two children. Annoyed by their crying, the deputy pulled two small stuffed animals out of his trunk and gave them to the children to placate them.
Reza shot video footage of the incident, which you can watch, here.
Asked if he was worried that crazy, nativist activists might picket the Posada, Reza wondered, "What are they going to do, protest kids?"
I wouldn't put it past them. The nativists are a nasty lot. Hopefully, security will be tight, so as to keep the haters far from the children.