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Billboard in Arizona Reads: 'Have Your Papers Ready, Racial Profiling Just Ahead'

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On July 28, District Court Judge Susan R. Bolton seemingly stripped out most of SB 1070's draconian provisions. Yet the battle around Arizona's freshly enacted anti-immigration law is still pretty much alive.

Whether it is via the $1.5 million Gov. Brewer has raised on the back of anti-immigrant fear mongering, or the threats of re-introducing the same bill, similar provisions only this time with a different number -- even the imminent appeal to the judge's decision, all pretty much signal that Arizona conservatives are looking to continue using this issue for their political advantage and ahead of midterm elections.

Yet, as was the case before, they won't face silent opposition from a resilient Latino community that is not folding its arms any time soon. The supporters of Cuéntame, which boasts a membership of close to 40,000, took it upon themselves to concept, design and fund striking on-the-ground action all via the Facebook page.

The idea was suggested to set-up a billboard in the heart of Phoenix, Arizona, that would send a strong message to the governor and those who have consistently supported the law. Immediately hundreds of votes and comments, on everything from the look and feel of the billboard, to the actual slogan and message it would contain, poured in from everywhere in the country.

Cuéntame supporters ended up selecting "Have Your Papers Ready, Racial Profiling Just Ahead" as the slogan -- and went on to the task of raising the funds. Needing 10K, an amount large enough to keep the billboard up for a substantial period of time, Cuéntame supporters chipped-in anywhere from $5 to $500 -- and were able to meet the goal in just a few hours.

The billboard went up this past Monday, Aug. 9, on Camelback and 3rd Street in the heart of Phoenix, Arizona, and already the response has been forceful and immediate. From those opposing SB 1070 expressing their overwhelming support via countless tweets, Facebook posts, emails and phone calls to supporters of SB 1070 expressing their outrage and indignation with the common wide array of racial slurs and immigrant bashing as their main weapon -- the billboard has already created quite a stir. And of course, the media has duly taken notice, with every single major outlet in Arizona covering the story: ABC News, CBS News, Fox News, Univision, Telemundo, The Arizona Republic, The Phoenix Times and many local radio stations, TV stations and newspaper outlets.

There is also a timelapse-styled video that features the billboard as it went up and has a message thanking all Cuéntame supporters for the action:

2010-08-10-billboardplay.png

One thing remains clear -- our Latino community seems not only enraged but SB1070 but inspired to take creative and powerful action. It is a testament that in these upcoming midterm elections, the Latino voice and vote will be a clear and decisive factor.

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