When I posted a request for people in Arizona interested in doing short interviews about their opinions on SB 1070, I expected a few angry or frustrated responses on the subject matter. I got one response which I must admit I read with skepticism. It read:
"I am interested in your interview project, and, as a police officer in Arizona, I have perspectives that might interest you."
I responded expecting never to hear back from Paul Dobson, but I was pleasantly surprised when he wrote back shortly thereafter. I mentioned the lead to my executive producer/director Robert Greenwald who was very excited about the possibility of getting an opinion from someone who may not only share his frustration, but who would also be expected to enforce the law directly.
I spoke with Mr. Dobson over the phone a couple of times before our Skype interview, and I was convinced that this police officer was unlike any cop I would have imagined from the state of Arizona right now. Full of emotion and disbelief over SB 1070, and working tirelessly on the "Do I look 'ILLEGAL?'" campaign on Cuéntame, I was honored that Paul Dobson had contacted me directly to let the world know how this law would make him, "feel like a Nazi."
Just weeks ago the staff here at Brave New Foundation, including Mr. Robert Greenwald, marched through downtown LA wearing "Do I look 'ILLEGAL?'" t-shirts at the immigration rally on May 1st. There, we felt the intense energy of the many people who were not only frustrated at the setbacks on immigration reform, but also incensed about the racist law in Arizona that, in addition to violating basic civil rights, is also obviously directed at Latinos, and at brown Latinos at that.
Now we have a true ally: a brave man speaking such powerful words that we could not have written a better testimony ourselves. Throughout my interview with Paul, I held back tears and felt an incredible urge to reach out and hug this man in gratitude for speaking out and defending my community. If only there were more people like Paul Dobson denouncing this law. I also asked him multiple times if he would like me to change his name, blur his face, or alter his voice in concern of his safety back home. Every time he thanked me for my offer and re-assured me that he didn't need me to protect him. He admitted to being afraid of a backlash, but not surprisingly he then said one simple sentence that gave me chills. "Bring it on."
With that, I encourage you to please take the time to watch this powerful video and join Paul Dobson, Robert Greenwald, and myself in this fight for people's human rights and dignity. I'll take Paul's words and fight until something changes, and I myself would like to say, BRING IT ON!
Follow Ofelia Yanez on Twitter: www.twitter.com/@OYanez