On April 23rd, Arizona Governor Brewer signed into law the most divisive and racially charged legislation in years. Police in Arizona will soon be able to demand that someone prove their citizenship at any time. When this law goes into effect at the end of July, Latinos, regardless of their citizenship status, will be targeted by this unjust and overreaching law.
With much of America outraged over the heavy-handed racism in Arizona, we at Democracia wanted to add our voice to the opposition and turn things around. And while we support the various protest and boycott efforts, we wanted to really dramatize the outrageousness of this new law.
They want to see our papers? OK, we'll dare them to ask us for them. We have produced thousands of wristbands that simply say "Ask Me for My Papers." We want all Latinos, all Americans to proudly wear them to remind law enforcement and politicians what a naked, ugly, un-American thing they have done.
You want to see a Latino's papers? Maybe he'll show you his law degree or a letter his daughter sent him. You want to see a Latina's papers? Maybe she'll show you her letter of promotion or library card. We want you to see our contributions, our accomplishments, our families, our valuable place in American society. We've got plenty of papers in our backpacks, briefcases, and purses. We're just not going to undercut American values by adding our birth certificate to them.
We dare you to shred the constitution. If you are going to play this political game, be ready to play it all the way to the end. "Ask Me for My Papers" is our proud defiance of this game. It says that we are not afraid, that we know certain forces want us to cower in a corner, but not only aren't we going there, we are instead coming right into your face and making you confront the disgrace you have caused.
We want white Grandmas to wear "Ask Me for My Papers" wristbands. Black men, gay women, soldiers, too. And how about cops? Or maybe Governor Brewer would like one.
Democracia is distributing these wristbands across the nation. If you (or Governor Brewer) would like one, go to our website, www.democracia-ahora.org. We won't ask you for your papers.