Originally published on Youthradio.org, the premier source for youth generated news throughout the globe.
By Denise Tejada
Just as the Chicago 7 became an iconic symbol for popular resistance in 1968, the Capitol 9 may become shorthand for youth resistance to Arizona's harsh new immigrant detention law.
Bill 1070 gives authorities the right to detain people who they suspect are in the country illegally.
Prior to the law passing, college students and community members took it upon themselves to educate others on what this law would mean if passed. Twenty-year-old Daisy Cruz is one of the nine students better known as the Capital 9 that were arrested for disorderly conduct after they chained themselves to Arizona's Capitol building. Cruz tells Youth Radio the idea arose after the bill passed the Senate.
Q: Why chain yourself to the Capitol building?
A: Well, we decided to take it to the next level just because as a movement we had already tried protesting, rallying, petitions, calling senators' offices; we had already tried everything, and felt this was the necessary next step -- a non-violent civil disobedience. We were arrested and taken to the holding cell in downtown Phoenix. Eight of us were there until two in the morning.
Q:What kind of support have you gotten from the youth?
A: The following days after we were arrested there were massive walkouts. Youth organized against their administration -- even though the principal was yelling on those speaker phones not to walk out, they still mobilized. Some schools walked for miles and miles before they even got to the Capitol building. We hadn't seen that in awhile in Arizona, so that was very empowering for the rest of the community. We feel very accomplished. We were scared that it would just be another little protest that would be overlooked. Our goal was to call for action, not just from Arizona, but from the nation, to know what's going on in Arizona. To know that it changed the whole dialogue -- the way people were talking about the issue and how people were reacting -- it completely changed the frame in the way this bill was being presented. We all feel very accomplished. We all are very grateful that it went on this path cause this is what we originally wanted.
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