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Two and Half Years Ago In Phoenix Arizona
All photos taken by Blake4d on the Sunday morning described in downtown Phoenix, Arizona
It was not so long ago.
On The Sunday After the SB1070 Immigration Law Protests in Phoenix, Arizona.
I find the last few days to be a horrific combination of events and reactionary conflicts in my home of Phoenix, Arizona. Politics, public opinion, media misinformation, and locally heated debate over the new Arizona Immigration Law SB 1070, has brought down unparalleled civil disruption in a city already at the boiling point. Literally and figuratively, as the Summer heat wave and humidity were record breaking since Wednesday. Soon fuel would be added to the fire.
Upwards of a thousand protestors were chanting as police armed in riot gear were lined down the streets of downtown Phoenix on July 29, 2010. Hundreds of protestors blocked up Washington Street outside of Phoenix City Hall on Thursday morning in as mass show of civil disobedience over SB1070, Arizona's Immigration Law which went into effect that day also. Crowds blocked traffic, delayed Phoenix Transit Buses, and cutoff Light-rail service during the protest. While they blocked the entrance to the 4th Avenue Jail and MCSO offices, the majority of the protesting remained non-violent.
A group of protestors chained themselves to the building, police were quick to arrest the group of people who were chained along with any people who refused to follow instruction to move back. At least two dozen people were initially arrested, including former state law maker and activist Alfredo Guitierrez.
The SB1070 legislation has been a steady buildup of tension for all Arizona residents on either side of the issues, but Thursday was fueled by the murder of a Chandler police officer only the night before. Officer Carlos Ledesma was working undercover operation in South Phoenix on the evening of July, 28 2010.
The circumstances are still being investigated, but on Thursday morning the local news reports claimed that the alleged killers were illegal aliens residing in the southern Phoenix neighborhood. Only one named Doarnell Jackson was currently under arrest for the murder during the Wednesday night shootout.
The tension definitely added to the reactions of both citizens and law enforcement during the large scale rally on Thursday. This day may well be one of the worst days in the social history of Phoenix as a city. Arizona has been divided for many months over immigration and its impact on the state economy.
All of this made worse by the literal bankruptcy of the state budget, and increasing pressure by the national media for Arizona law makers to lead the torch for immigration reform politically. No other state is as directly affected by illegal immigration than Arizona, in fact this state has been at the forefront of the border war for years prior to this week of events.
Friday and Saturday were much quieter, and although other protests continued in other states like California and New York, Phoenix had already taken a toll bringing any further planned protesting to a standstill.
As the later part of the weekend commenced, local news now announced that the alleged cop killers in Chandler were actually raised in the United States. Also they were not of Latin, but rather African-American descent.
As of Saturday night, the local news reports now claimed that the number of people arrested and being detained at the Madison Street Jail was over 70. That number still was not confirmed, as the arrested individuals were spread between the indoor jailhouse, and a temporary outdoor holding facility.
Sheriff Joe Arrpaio, defended the actions of his law enforcement officers, and also said that the arrests would continue if there were further lawlessness from anyone. This applied to both legal citizens or illegally immigrated persons alike.
As I write this, it is now late Sunday night. During the morning hours today I went back downtown to the 4th Avenue Jail area downtown to a quiet, almost unrecognizable as the site of the same place where the protest had been only days before.
As I walked and took photos of the jail and neighboring buildings, there was an unsettling feeling looking upon the red brick building with all its flags at half mast in memory of a local fallen law enforcer. His family and friends in mourning, while families and friends of currently incarcerated protestors were most likely attending their local church services.
For those against SB1070, perhaps it was time to call upon God to empower their plight, now that man's laws have so miserably failed them. For those for SB1070, even the victory of passing the new bill into law must be bittersweet with the aftermath of a police shooting and the local chaos on Thursday.
If anything is sure and true today in the state of Arizona, it is that our state is currently a state torn apart by social division. Politics come and go, but our state is in need of healing. One can only hope that perhaps tomorrow will be a new day, and with it the hope that the healing process may somehow begin.
Let us say a prayer for all of Arizona and her people. For this is not the end of this struggle. Nor likely is it to be the end of the illegal immigration problem in America any time soon.
Yet at least on Sunday morning, the streets seem to be quietly peaceful again.