Hip-hop artist Chuck D, best known as a rapper with progressive band Public Enemy, has released a new track in response to the extreme racist, anti-immigrant law passed on April 23 in Arizona entitled “Tear Down That Wall”. The song can be downloaded at SLAMjazz.com. Chuck D and his wife, Dr Gaye Theresa Johnson (director of Black and Chicano studies at UC Santa Barbara), also released the following statement against the racist law.
* * *
Arizona Governor Jan Brewer’s decision to sign the Arizona immigration bill into law is racist, deceitful and reflects some of the most mean-spirited politics against immigrants that the country has ever seen.
The power this law gives police to detain people they suspect to be undocumented brings racial profiling to a new low. Brewer’s actions and those of the Arizona State Senate are despicable, inexcusable, and endorse the all-out hate campaign that Joe Arpaio, Russell Pearce, and others have perpetrated upon immigrants for years.
The people of Arizona who voted for this bill, as well as those who crafted it, demonstrate no regard for the humanity or contributions of Latino people. And for all of those who have chosen not to speak up, shame on you for silently endorsing this legislated hate.
In 1991, I wrote a song criticising Arizona officials (including John McCain) for rejecting the federal holiday honoring Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. The same politics I wrote about in “By the Time I Get to Arizona” are alive and well in Arizona today — but this time the target is Brown people.
These actions must stop. I am issuing a call to action, urging my fellow musicians, artists, athletes, performers, and production companies to refuse to work in Arizona until officials not only overturn this bill, but also recognise the human rights of immigrants.
This should include the NBA playoffs, revisiting the actions of the NFL in 1993, when they moved the Superbowl to Pasadena in protest against Arizona’s refusal to recognise Dr King.
We all need to speak up in defence of our brothers and sisters being victimised in Arizona, because things are only getting worse.
What they’re doing to immigrants is appalling, but it will be even more damning if we remain silent.