Good Things Happening in AZ

I went with my kids to the candlelight vigil and protest against AZ's immigration law held last night at the state capitol building in Phoenix. Rev. Al Sharpton led a march from Pilgrim Rest Baptist Church to the capitol where several hundred people were already gathered with signs, candles, American flags, collage art, makeshift jail cells. A woman I didn't know thanked me for coming and said that she really appreciated the support of my family. Local writers were up in the crowd. I saw the efforts of poets Mark Haunschild and Fernando Perez who have provided a space for children and adults at the protests to use paint and markers to leave handprints and visual artwork against SB 1070.

I saw the Los Suns jerseys that the Phoenix Suns wore last night in their game against the Spurs. Sharpton was wearing a jersey when he spoke last night.

This week the city councils of Tucson and Flagstaff have voted to sue the state over SB 1070.

Last Friday, the documentary "9500 Liberty" premiered at Harkins Valley Art Theater on Mill Avenue in Tempe. According to the filmmaker's press release, "the documentary is about a Virginia county's short mandate requiring officers to question people they had cause to suspect were undocumented immigrants. The Prince William County mandate was repealed in two months due to negative economic, legal and public safety impacts." The documentary is playing all this week.

Speaking of documentaries, on Saturday, May 8th from 5:30-7:30 pm at Civic Park Space, 424 N. Central in downtown Phoenix, there's a screening of the film "A Village Called Versailles." From the press release:

Welcome to Versailles, New Orleans––home to the densest ethnic Vietnamese population outside of Vietnam. For over 30 years, its residents lived a quiet existence on the edge of New Orleans. But then came Hurricane Katrina, the immense garbage piles and the shocking discovery of a toxic landfill planned in their neighborhood. Watch as they fight back, turning a devastating disaster into a catalyst for change and a chance to build a better future. Independent Lens is like an independent film festival that introduces new documentaries and dramas made by independent thinkers: filmmakers who are taking creative risks, calling their own shots and finding untold stories in unexpected places.
And today at Civic Park Space I will be taking part in Poetry Central where several Phoenix Union High School students will get the opportunity to write poetry on themes of war and peace in response to paintings created by Vietnamese Children. It's part of the Vietnamese Children's Art Project that you can read about here.