By Steve La
Some rockers are taking on the Arizona immigration law that has stirred a lot of passionate opposition here in L.A., including boycotts of Arizona by several cities.
“This is not a Latino or immigration issue,” said Zack de la Rocha, lead vocalist for Rage Against the Machine, at a press conference this morning. “This is a battle for basic human dignity”
After a 10 year hiatus, Rage Against the Machine announced their return to L.A. They'll headline a benefit concert Friday at 7:30 at the Hollywood Palladium to raise money for organizations fighting Arizona's immigration law SB 1070. Conor Oberst and the Mystic Valley Band as well as Los Jornaleros Del Norte, a band made up of day laborers, will also perform.
The concert was organized by the Sound Strike, a group of artists and musicians boycotting Arizona's new law. The coalition includes Cypress Hill, Sonic Youth, Nine Inch Nails, Kanye West and Ozomatli.
“We are here to rock this mother to the ground,” said Tom Morello, lead guitarist for Rage, referring to the upcoming show. “We are here to give notice that we will not let this law stand.”
The musicians were flanked by community activists Salvador Reza and Dolores Huerta and attorney Chris Newman.
Salvador Reza of the Puente movement, a human rights group, spoke first.
“We want immigration reform now, but we don't immigration reform with criminalization,” Reza said.
His sentiments were echoed by Dolores Huerta, Co-Founder of the United Farm Workers.
“We need a comprehensive immigration reform,” Huerta said. “We need to put pressure on Congress to pass it.”
She noted Arizona's history — it was the last state in the union to recognize Martin Luther King Jr with a holiday.
For those out of the loop, SB1070 is Arizona's attempt to crack down on illegal immigration by forcing police to find out the immigration of status of people that could “reasonably” be thought to be here illegally. Critics say it would lead to widespread racial profiling. The federal government has filed suit against Arizona to get the law struck down, claiming the feds, and not the states, have authority to enforce immigration law.
Chris Newman, attorney for the National Day Laborer Organizing Network, said that the law is unconstitutional and believed it was born out of racial animus.
Of course it's doubtful Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer will be persuaded by Rage Against the Machine to abandon the law, but every bit helps.