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Utah joins struggle against racist SB1070 law

Hundreds protest at Utah State Capitol
By Josh West |
August 3, 2010
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Hundreds rally in Salt Lake City against SB1070.
Hundreds rally in Salt Lake City against SB1070. (Fight Back! News)

Salt Lake City, UT- 200 protesters filled the Utah State Capitol Building in solidarity with undocumented immigrants on July 29. Their chants rang through the capitol, expressing outrage at Arizona’s latest piece of racist legislation aimed at Mexican and Chicano people. On the day that SB1070, the anti-immigrant law, went into effect in the neighboring state of Arizona, groups such as the Salt Lake Autonomous Brown Berets and the Revolutionary Student Union (RSU) joined with Movimiento Estudiantil Chicano de Aztlan (MEChA) for a rally. The coalition sent a clear message to Utah’s legislators, “Racist legislation not welcome here!”

A Utah right-wing group, the Patrick Henry Caucus, is having its state senators propose copycat legislation: SB81 and SB251. Despite a last-minute federal government injunction against aspects of Arizona’s SB1070, these far right senators announced publicly that they are still proposing such legislation in Utah.

Inside the capitol building five dedicated women activists delivered inspiring speeches that energized the protesters to stop racist laws targeting Mexican and other immigrants. The messages of solidarity printed on signs and expressed by the speakers came from a variety of perspectives, all united in support of immigrants’ rights. One Christian speaker asked, “Who would Jesus deport?” Others represented socialist, feminist and LGBTQ groups.

Many in attendance were not satisfied with leaving their message within the confines of the capitol building and after the rally ended, they enthusiastically took their signs and chants to the streets. The approach of the marchers was noticed blocks away by the sound of pro-immigrant and pro-worker slogans, the sight of the red and black flags waving at the front of the procession, and students and immigrant rights activists holding protest signs declaring, “SB1070 tears families apart,” “Stop the hate!” and “Por la reforma migratoria.”

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