SB1070 POWER 2020

Young leaders come together to fight back

The organizers and activists from the last 30 years empowered and trained our youth to take leadership.

We were a small minority of our state representatives and elected officials, we voted in lower numbers, and fewer of us were even registered. The same activists who attended rallies, marched to the capitol, and walked out of school got organized. They saw that they were underrepresented in all aspects of civic engagement. The new leadership got together and formed organizations to change that.

Founded in 2010, One Arizona started with a campaign by four immigrant rights organizations to register 12,000 new Latinx voters. Since then, the coalition has grown to include 23 organizations from all over Arizona, representing diverse communities and issue areas but united by a common set of values. Between 2010 and today, the coalition has registered nearly 500,000 new voters in Arizona, laying the groundwork for change in our state.

There wasn’t one strategy, there wasn’t one tactic, there wasn’t one organization. It was a movement.



Communities of all faith backgrounds stepped up to hold our lawmakers accountable. They met with those in power, led vigils, took pilgrimages to the seats of power, and through prayer put their faith in action.

Communities of faith traveled to DC to convince John Boehner, then Speaker of the House, to bring Immigration Reform to the floor of Congress. This relief would have lifted the community up and provided relief to families struggling under xenophobic state laws.

During organizing against SB1070, prayer and faith groups had a prominent presence in uniting the community. These local and national groups had already been present organizing a national call for immigration reform. Continuing that work, Arizona leaders traveled to Washington DC and launched fasts and vigils encouraging the Speaker of the House to advocate for and bring Immigration Reform to the House of Representatives. Locally, activists pulled together to reach out to the Spanish speaking faith community to get involved and use faith to organize against more laws immediately after SB1070.

It took a variety of people with multiple strategies and ways of thinking to make the change we were looking for.

Community leaders across the state from all sorts of backgrounds were united in the desire to stop, change, and influence to improve the lives of people of color in Arizona. No one tactic was the solution, and it took a variety of organizing, demonstration, and civil disobedience to move forward.

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  • After the passage of SB1070, numerous groups fought back through civil disobedience.

  • In a series of civil disobedience, activists display community dissent against SB1070 by dropping a banner from a construction crane in Downtown Phoenix.

  • A coalition of Promise Arizona in Action and Unite Here Local 99 came together to train hundreds of volunteers to talk to voters and speak to the community about the 2012 election. Here, a speaker addresses Adios Arpaio volunteers.

  • Team Awesome, a group of motivated high schoolers, worked through the summer of 2012 to help elect local candidates in Maryvale

  • Community united through various tactics to move elected officials to action. Here, activists from Arizona pray to convince the Speaker of the House to pass immigration reform and protecting undocumented families.

  • In 2013, activists gathered using prayer, fasts, and vigils to convince John Boehner to bring Comprehensive Immigration Reform to congress. Pictured is the Arizona delegation holding banners, photos of family and religious symbols.

  • While being challenged in court, community members held days long vigils awaiting decisions on SB1070. Here, a volunteer rests under the American flag while waiting for news

  • The power built in 2012 grew and expanded in 2016. From Adios Arpaio to Bazta Arpaio, young, passionate activists continued talking to voters, organizing to vote Sheriff Joe Arpaio out of office.

  • On election day 2016, high school students rally and lead voters to the polls. This was the second time community united to vote Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio out of office.

  • In 2018, One Arizona launched an effort to register 200,000 people to vote, the coalition’s biggest goal yet. Volunteers and leaders from several organizations join together to launch this effort.

  • In 2018, One Arizona launched an effort to register 200,000 people to vote, the coalition’s biggest goal yet


A new wave of voter registration and voter engagement took hold across central Arizona
Promise Arizona, a faith-led organization, started the work to increase and improve voter engagement and recall Russell Pearce, the author of SB1070. Through a massive voter registration and door-knocking campaign, community leaders were successful in recalling the powerful Mesa State Senator (behind SB1070) just 1 year after SB 1070 was signed into law.

Starting in 2012 in West Phoenix, a group of undocumented high school students teamed up to form Team Awesome and worked to elect city and congressional leadership that would be champions for the immigrant community. By registering new Latinx voters and engaging with families that were often overlooked by both parties, multiple groups were able to shift the tide of the electorate and activate families to get out the vote!

Direct action creates policy change
The national fight for immigrant rights continued and the community fought back against deportation. Through the Undocubus tour and the occupation of Obama’s campaign offices, Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) was won and deportations were stopped for young undocumented immigrants.

Through community defense, organizing and demonstrations, policy began to be affected immediately. In Maricopa County jails, the cruel Tent City was closed and lawsuits for discrimination were filed against Arpaio. Evidence collected through community defense became the basis of evidence against Joe Arpaio in discrimination suits. City IDs, driver’s licenses and in-state tuition were demanded for DACAmented youth and allowed them to prosper, attend school, and gave a sense of security to the community.

Our Future


Arizona had gained an international reputation for hateful, anti-immigrant laws. The very same people these laws targeted took action and made real change to the state and won better living conditions for their communities.

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