TUCSON, Arizona — This weekend, Arizona Governor Doug Ducey declared a state of emergency and a week-long curfew in response to the George Floyd solidarity protests that have spread to almost every major city in the United States.
He says it is about public safety, but it is not. It is a nod to his most fervent supporters: white anti-immigrant conservative voters and Trump supporters.
When COVID-19 tore through our Latinx, Black and Indigenous communities, Governor Ducey intentionally sidestepped multiple opportunities to keep us safe. He provided minimal enforcement for a successful execution of social distancing, failed hundreds of thousands of Arizona families with a swift processing of unemployment benefits and prematurely opened the state.
But now, when people are risking their lives during the pandemic to demand justice and accountability for police brutality, Ducey is focused on protecting the police who in the last few days have taken into custody 114 protesters —including three who are undocumented— and that have threatened journalists with jail for covering the protests.
The governor is testing the limits of his power to build a police state, when what we need now more than ever is to build a state of care. We need to stop the police and ICE from traumatizing our communities. We need appropriate, affordable medical care for everyone. We need an eviction moratorium for small business owners who are unable to pay rent. And we need to protect the residents most impacted by providing them with direct cash assistance programs, including to undocumented families.
Instead, with his swift executive action, he has shown us that he is more interested in policing Black bodies and is using these protests as an excuse for state violence against them.
We know that this is not about public safety, because just two weeks ago, when majority-white protesters stormed the state capitol demanding the state reopen despite the ongoing risks of the pandemic, the governor quickly kowtowed to their demands without policing protesters, calls for curfews or arrests.
Never mind that Arizona is currently at an upward climb of hospitalizations and deaths due to COVID-19. Or that the Navajo Nation released heartbreaking reports showing an increase in the number of deaths and infections in their community. When that information was released, Governor Ducey did not even spare a tweet. We still have 175,000 families who have been denied unemployment since February, waiting to find out if any benefits will come to their already strained households.
These are the issues Governor Ducey needs to address if he truly cares about public safety. Ducey and the state legislature could actually help all the citizens of Arizona by passing a People’s Bailout.
Instead, this executive order shows they are only interested in policing Black and Brown bodies.
I am hopeful that mayors like mine —Mayor Regina Romero— mostly refused to cooperate in the continued criminalization of Black, Brown and Indigenous bodies during a global pandemic.
Elected officials all over Arizona have a choice now and we are counting on them to stand with our communities, protect our right to protest and heed our demands for true bodily and economic safety.
We must show Governor Ducey and the rest of the world watching the movement taking place in our country that Black Lives Matter.
Grecia Lima is the National Political Director for Community Change Action, a national social justice organization that builds power with low-income communities, especially communities of color. Twitter: @GreciaLima.
I see it differently. I see it as the governor is trying to avoid more property damage and looting while protecting citizens. Protests are ok with me. Looting is stealing, not protesting.
Dialog won’t be productive and change won’t happen through rioting and fear and intimidation.
Well said with examples backing up every point you make. Ducey is a pawn of Trump, each failed leaders incapable of understanding their constituents concerns. Trump will be voted out in November due to his horrible mishandling of the Covid but Ducey we have to continue to endure for longer.
Bs. It’s to protect the public and property that rioters are burning looting and damaging. They tried to give ppl a chance to vent but it’s been 5 days citizens have called for police to protect them.
Bs. It’s to expand opportunities for Doug Ducey. Nothing more, nothing less. Ducey could care less about your or my property or whether you or I get cut by flying glass. Granted, he oathed to care for his state, so he will protect the state’s property at all cost. Plus, protecting state property instead of it’s citizens might reward him a tweet and a handshake from ole’ don, himself.
I can’t believe what I’m reading. First off, covid-19 doesn’t recognize a race of people, not does it discriminate. President Trump isn’t a scientist nor is he a doctor! People who state it is his fault can’t honestly think the public at large take stock in what you people are saying. Fauci and Burke’s stated right from the start, when President Trump gave them free reign of the mic during a national press conference, and Fauci stated covid-19 was “not a threat and go about your daily lives”. So if there is a lacking here on anyone’s behalf, it’s those who claimed to know that had given advice to President Trump. As far as looting, setting fire’s and destroying public and private property, and hurting innocent people, I feel our leader’s had no choice but to resort to enact forces to control the pandemic of destruction and violence of those trying to underscore a productive and peaceful nation. Those who were looting, maiming or killing human beings, work no more than savages. I feel the right to protest peacefully and orderly is a given right, but not destruction, and chaos. It did nothing to prove a point to anyone, only to be self-serving to those who had another agenda and mind.I think it was correct to open up our communities allow people to go back to somewhat of a semblance of community and society. it is those people who were reckless and unconcerned who chose not to use social distancing, personal protection, or sanitize surfaces and such, and use common sense! How can anybody say or think that this is solely the president of the United States fault, or our political leaders. It has been stated right from the beginning by Fauci, Burke’s, and other divisions of our medical society the CDC and the WHO. Don’t wear protection, and go about your daily lives. These are the individuals and the agencies in our country that have stated and from the beginning the flu was worse than covid-19, no need to be afraid… yet there are those in our nation who have the nerve to suggest President Trump is somehow responsible for this pandemic of covid-19. Seems to me it started in Wuhan China! Doesn’t that make Wuhan China and their inability to be honest with the world what was going on and how this all got started, instead they chose to Cloak and Dagger the whole situation. people need to stop accusing and pointing fingers which they are so good at, instead people need to sit back and look at the reality of everything rather than listening to fake news and those who would try to undermine our leader’s. I would honestly hope that we are all intelligent enough to see that people who are doing this to our leaders and our country have their own agenda at hand oh, and it is not about we the people!
Valerie I applaud you and your words…. THIS is the message I feel that needs to be delivered to everyone. I agree that pointing fingers at the president is an easy way to feel better about who’s at fault for the handling of this pandemic, rather than actually seeing the bigger picture and harsh reality of the “medical experts” advising the president and taking accountability for their own health practices (or lack there of). Don’t get me wrong I’m not a fan of our president because he himself is not an expert in his field, and maybe a “little bit” of a narcissist – OK maybe a huge narcissist. And maybe he’s culturally insensitive and also inexperienced in anything less than high-class. But you know it’s getting super old that he is at the butt of everyone’s joke or attack when all he is trying to do is his job. I do however feel strongly about our leaders needing to step up their game in relation to: the inequality and racism that STILL (unbelievably) exists in friggin 2020; truly hold those monsters accountable who commit heinous acts and CLEARLY abuse their power; in addition and just as important to their weak and delayed responses to the health and economic crises affecting a whole lot of folks!!!
You don’t stop and look at the fact that the looters and murders rioting now are mainly black. They are killing cops that are black. They are burning buildings that belong to blacks and they don’t care. The cops responsible are being held accountable now we need to hold accountable the thugs rioting and looting. Protests have been held for a week now in our town but all peaceful. The whole country could do that and save black lives
I must point out that from watching from a variety of sources rather than just one side, I have seen a major frequency of white ppl in the frenzies of looting and violence and rioting. And stirring up the pot at protests that are trying to make very valid points.
I don’t like the unnecessary violence at any level. From anyone. Including the Police, rioters, and even just in general.
It prevent us from making the changes we need by turning up the heat and fueling hatred and vengeance whether justified or not.
But I have also seen black ppl, as well as white ppl and many others STOPPING the bad actors echo are trying to subvert and undermine the protests.
Black Lives DO INDEED MATTER!
And yours does too. And my mixed family’s lives matter. And my friends. And strangers’ lives. Mine, not so much.
There should not be things happening like happened to George Floyd. We all need to step away from being defensive about it and fix these issues and many others. By working together. I have known some good ppl from all races and even cops and we need to STOP accepting the actions of a few or even statistical crime data as a way of measuring the value of another based on their skin color, or any other factor they can’t help, and frankly should never see as being something for which they should be afraid.
Please let’s try to rise for justice and equality for the HUMAN RACE?
It is disturbing that a species this far advanced is still hung up on such factors to determine an individual’s or groups right to life, liberty, dignity and the pursuit of happiness.
What happened to him was very wrong. As were so many other travesties of justice.
We should be trying to create relationships with each other not division!