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Tuesday, August 10, 2010

We Promise Paz - Arizona immigration reform


Look into the faces of Arizona immigrants and you will hear the frightened cries of children when they find out mama is not coming home tonight.  Peer into the eyes of the mothers and you can see the shredded hearts when they find out their spouses were arrested in another Arpaio raid.  Touch the cheeks of immigrant youth and feel the rain of tears when their


IMG_1437 A Paz Fellow, Ariel, invites people to an event


hopes for a future are dashed because no school will admit them.  When you feel the pain of the immigrant community, then wipe your own tears away, because in the words Michele Rudy, an organizer for immigration reform, “we can’t allow our fear or despair to paralyze us!”  We have to take action!  But what?


group shot

Paz Fellows

A new organization called Promise Arizona thinks they have the solution.  Rather than simply battle against a single law, Arizona SB 1070, for example, which is the most vicious legislation against immigrants in the history of the United States, why not get at the root of the problem?  Why not help the immigrant community elect politicians who more fairly represent the community? 


The strategy is difficult to implement at a time when the community is in full defense against S.B. 1070. The natural reaction has been to battle this one aberration of justice.  However, from the point of view of Promise Airzona, S.B. 1070 may stand or fall just the same.  Unless the community can rid itself of those who so carelessly voted for the legislation, there will only be more laws just like it.  


Reaching into a community traumatized by a sheriff drunk with power, by politicians who pass racists laws, and by citizens who are not grateful for the contribution immigrants have made in constructing and maintaining their homes and their communities, is tough.  It takes a dedicated team and a good action plan to pull it off.  Promise Arizona says they have the solution for that, too.  They call it the Paz Fellowship!


Paz fellows are people from across America who want to participate in the civil rights movement of modern times.  Just as activists traveled from across the country to help organize African American voters during “freedom summer” in 1964 Mississippi, Paz fellows are being recruited from all over the country to help in the battle for human dignity and family unity in Arizona.  Promise Arizona provides housing, usually with host families, and gives the freedom fighters a stipend for basic expenses. 


How does one qualify to become a Paz Fellow? 


  • Be at least 18 years old and able to attend the training, as well as work for at least three weeks of the month for which they are accepted.
  • Provide their own transportation to and from Arizona
  • Commit to working 30 hours a week for at least three weeks in Arizona
  • Be given a $100/week stipend for food and travel within the state.


The application is straightforward.  Many young people are taking Promise up on it’s answer of Paz!  For example, a bus with as many as 30 young people will be arriving this week end.  Even larger groups have been accepted for participation.  If you are interested in making a difference in protecting the civil rights of thousands of mothers and fathers and children then this might be for you!  Group applications are still being taken as well as those of individuals.  Come help spread peace to the immigrant community and the state of Arizona  Why not be a Paz Fellow?


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