Artists For Action Wants You In Arizona

Rage Against the Machine’s Zack de la Rocha and his Sound Strike buddies want fellow artists to boycott booking shows in Arizona to protest the state’s new immigration law. Artists For Action has a different idea – the group wants performers to come to Arizona and follow its motto to “perform, educate [and] mobilize.”

Artists For Action was formed by the singers of two Tucson-based bands, Joey Burns of Calexico and David Slutes of Sand Rubies. The group’s mission is “to offer support and resources for artists who want to mobilize their fans and promote civic activism, including helping artists connect with non-partisan voter registration, legal defense funds, and organizations that promote education and the protection of civil rights.”

SB 1070 will require police, while enforcing other laws, to question people about their immigration status if there’s reasonable suspicion they are illegal immigrants. The controversial law was signed by Gov. Jan Brewer April 23 and set to go into effect July 29.

The Associated Press notes that Arizona is the country’s biggest gateway into the U.S. for illegal immigration and that an estimated 460,000 illegal immigrants call the state home.

Photo: Courtesy of Artists For Action
Convertino explains the philosophy behind Artists For Action during a press conference held July 8.

Here’s what Artists For Action thinks about SB 1070:

“The ill-conceived ‘immigration’ measure will infringe on the civil rights of everyone in Arizona. … This law will likely lead to rampant racial profiling, particularly against people of Latino descent.”

The group says that while it understands why artists such as members The Sound Strike are boycotting the state, it’s especially important to take action in this election year.

“We’re asking artists to take a stand, make their voices heard, and inspire fans to get involved,” said Burns. “Now is the time when art can make a difference. Now is the time for action.”

Artists For Action wants to work with artists to help coordinate rallies, speaking engagements and benefit performances.

“What Arizona needs now is support,” explained Jim Adkins of Phoenix-based Jimmy Eat World. “I have the utmost respect for musicians, artists, and small business owners who are killing themselves to make something on their own terms. I hope Artists for Action can be the bridge to help inform interested locals. And to help bring like-minded progressive voices back to Arizona.”

U.S Representative Raúl Grijalva praised the group during a press conference held Thursday.

“I am supporting the efforts of Artists for Action because they are providing a positive outlet in the struggle against SB 1070 and the ethnic studies ban. Artists have a long history of activism for social justice, and Arizona is no different.”

For more information, click here for Artists For Action’ website,